How to Prune & Trim Leyland Cypress

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Leyland cypress is part of the evergreen family of trees and can often grow to a height of 50 or more feet in some cases. This tree grows in a diamond or pyramidal shape, looking like a Christmas tree in most cases. The tree grows very large very fast, about 3 to 4 feet a year, and usually is too big for most standard home lawns. The purpose of trimming and pruning this tree is to remove any dead or dying branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Branch shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Pruning paste
  • Trim the sides of the tree around mid to late July. Also trim the sides yearly, leaving only the leading shoot untouched. You can also top off the tree to control the height. Remove any dead, dying or decaying branches. Also check for stems or branches that appear to be growing out from the base of the tree to form a new tree or separate growth stem.

  • Cut away the smaller dead or dying branches until you reach the newer healthy branches, using pruning shears. Place the cuts outside the bulging part of the branch between the branch and the base of the tree trunk. This prevents the branches from expanding out further and creating overgrowth.

  • Make cuts at a 45-degree angle to ensure a healthy and strong regrowth. Beginning from the furthest point of the trunk of the tree and working upwards, measure out about 12 to 18 inches from the main trunk. You can make the first cut of the branch at that position and make your next cut about 1 inch past the first cut and complete the cut through the branch.

  • Cut the tree again at the next branch collar. Follow the same procedure until the entire tree has been trimmed and pruned. To control any potential for disease or insect infestation, apply some pruning paste to the open cut branches. This will act as an antibiotic to help heal the tree.

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