Both Leyland Cypress and Emerald Green are types of fast growing, evergreen trees used in many instances as privacy screens. The Emerald Green, also known as the white cedar does not grow as tall as the Leyland cypress.
The Leyland cypress is a variety of evergreen tree that can grow to an extremely tall size. If left to grow without human interference, the Leyland cypress can grow to between 60 and 75 feet in height, according to Sava Tree. In contrast, the Emerald Green does not reach such large proportions, reaching around 30 feet in height with a natural spread of between 8 and 10 feet, reports About Arborvitae. The Leyland cypress has a much larger spread of between 10 and 20 feet. Both the Leyland cypress and Emerald Green are classified as fast growing trees, with the Leyland cypress growing at an average of 3 feet or more per year. The Emerald Green grows at a rate of around 4 feet per year in favorable circumstances.
Both the Emerald Green and Leyland cypress are evergreen trees that in most circumstances maintain their natural foliage color throughout the year, in extremely cold winters the foliage of the Emerald Green can change to a yellow-brown color. During the early years of growth an Emerald Green has bright green foliage that matures with the tree to a darker green. The Leyland cypress also begins its life with bright green foliage, which matures to obtain a bluish-green hue as the tree ages.
The Emerald Green and Leyland cypress are popular choices for privacy screens in the U.S. because of their tolerance of the majority of soil types; both trees prefer to be grown in full sun or partial shade. When planted in areas of full shade, the trees can suffer from problems including loss of foliage on the lower branches. The Leyland cypress is able to grow and maintain its health in drought conditions, but does not grow well in areas with poor water drainage or waterlogged conditions. Water is less of a problem for the Emerald Green, which is capable of growing in swamp and waterlogged conditions. The Leyland cypress is also capable of growing in areas with a high salt level in the water and soil, while the Emerald Green is more tolerant of areas with a high-alkaline content.
The Emerald Green often requires less care than the Leyland cypress because the Emerald Green grows into a natural pyramid shape that often does not require pruning to be maintained. The Leyland cypress also grows into a pyramid shape, but requires pruning because of its large size to maintain its shape and remove dead and damaged branches. The height of the Leyland cypress can also result in problems with the placement of the trees, with trees planted below items such as utility lines causing problems as the trees mature.