How to Prune Overgrown Leyland Cypress


The fast-growing Leyland cypress makes an effective hedge plant. It requires regular pruning to encourage healthy growth and maintain its shape. Prune Leyland cypress plants up to three times per growing season between April and the end of August. As you trim Leyland cypress, inspect the needles for signs of bagworms. These pests show up as brown pods hanging from the needles. Pull them off by hand by early July. If given the chance, bagworms will strip your Leyland cypress plants bare.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Cut overgrowth using pruning shears. Reduce the plant by up to one-third of its height to encourage dense, healthy growth.

  • Discard the pruned material, and pull out any vines that may have entangled the shrub.

  • Trim smaller stems using hedge trimmers, fine-tuning the shape as you work. Keep the base of the plant wide so light reaches all parts of it. The plant should narrow as it goes up into a flat-topped A-shape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid cutting too much off the top of the plant. This can result in a bare, flat top on healthy plants and may result in the death of old or weak plants.
  • Do not cut into old, leafless growth. New growth will not sprout from bare wood.

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