Knowledgebase

Life span of Leyland Cypress? #817001

Asked November 28, 2022, 6:07 PM EST

In making choices for trees in a subdivision, we have learned that Leyland is a fast growing, mutant-sterile-hybrid, which grows fast, and is beautiful. But, we’ve learned that hazards come along with it: flammable, shallow roots with no tap root, and a short lifespan. We’re wondering if you know the lifespan of a Leyland Cypress and if it’s a good tree to plant between two houses in a city subdivision?

Polk County Oregon

Expert Response

Dear Robert, 

Thank you for contacting Ask Extension about Leyland cypress. 

Fast-growing trees are often short-lived. Under optimum growing conditions, Leyland cypress can live 25 to 50 years. However, heat and drought may lead to stress and diseases. When planted in heavy clay soils and subject to hot, dry growing conditions, they may live only 10 to 20 years. With the way our summers are trending, you should plan to keep a ring of moist soil (not soggy) that extends 10 feet beyond the drip line anytime temperatures are above 90 degrees. 

Generally, trees should be planted at least 15 feet away from a house to maintain good airflow and prevent damage to paint and roofing. Taller trees should be farther away from foundations to allow for proper lateral root growth. However, it is possible to keep Leyland cypress shorter with annual pruning.

Depending on what your planting goals are, you may be able to find other species that may work equally well or better than Leyland Cypress. While we do not promote products or businesses, you may find this list of narrow-growing trees helpful: 
https://portlandnursery.com/docs/planting-solutions/ColumnarPlants.pdf

Please feel free to write again if you have additional questions.
Lynne Marie Sullivan Replied November 28, 2022, 7:55 PM EST

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