Leyland Cypress Trees Offer Screening And Privacy

Welcome to the 298th Metamorphosis Monday!

Shortly after moving into my home 22+ years ago, we planted a lot of Leyland Cypress trees on either side of our home to provide screening and privacy from the houses on either side. One side of my porch and deck is very private, the other side is kind of close to my neighbor’s home. I like my neighbors but there are times when it would be nice to have more privacy.

The Leyland Cypress trees did a great job for many years but eventually due to age and their huge size, they began to really thin out toward to the lower part. They still provided screening pretty well from the house next door as you can see in the picture below, but they didn’t look so great. As much as I hated it, they had to go.

Leyland Cypress For Screening


I had them removed but with their removal, the house next door was suddenly super visible again. I purchased a couple of Tardiva Tree-Form Hydrangeas to help while I considered all my options for screening.



After researching the latest recommendations for the fastest growing and best trees for screening, I decided to go back with Leyland Cypress trees again. The reason I chose those is because I love how they look, they are super easy to grow and at 3 feet per year, they grow faster than just about anything out there for screening. The ones I planted before worked well in this spot for 20 years. If these do that well, I’ll be thrilled.

Cryptomeria was a tree that several folks recommended for screening but I don’t care for how they bronze in the winter. I know that’s normal for the Cryptomeria but I just don’t like how it looks. Also, my neighbor on the other side planted some along our lot line a few years ago and they are barely any bigger than when she had them planted.

I considered mixing in one Crytomeria for variety but decided to stay with what I know I love and what I’ve had success with in the past. I purchased three Leyland Cypress for the area where I needed screening.

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


Today I’m sharing a few tips for planting trees. Here in Georgia we have lots of red clay. You can see some of it stuck to my shovel in this pictures. Georgia red clay is unbelievably thick and sticky. When planting trees, shrubs or really anything in the area where I live, it’s really important to enrich the soil with a good soil amendment.

I purchased some that was especially designed for trees and shrubs. My tree-planting gear includes a good shovel, some heavy gloves, a cultivator for helping break up the red clay and a good starter fertilizer. Phone and bluetooth speaker for listening to books while you dig is optional. πŸ™‚

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


When planting a tree, you need to dig a hole that is approximately 2 to 3 times the width of the existing container or root ball. That gives the roots a chance to grow unimpeded. The depth of the hole should be the same as the existing root ball.

To mark where I wanted each tree, I went all the way around the pot digging into the ground with my shovel, creating a mini trench in the dirt. If you have some spray-paint you could use it to mark off the area where you wish to dig. Just be sure to buy the type of spray-paint that works when turned upside down.

Width of hole for planting a tree


Once I had the hole dug the depth and width needed, I added in plenty of the soil amendment and mixed it into the dirt down in the hole with my cultivator.

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


Next I sprinkled in some of the starter fertilizer, following the directions on the package. Some starter fertilizers are in liquid form. The one I used was in a powder/granular form. Either will work fine.

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


I stirred the started fertilizer into my dirt and placed the tree in the hole. In this picture below, you can see about how much wider the hole needs to be than the root ball of the plant.

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


Next, mix soil amendment into the remaining dirt and fill in around the tree. Do not mound up the dirt higher than it was when the tree was inside the pot. The dirt should be even with the top of the root ball. Some folks even recommend leaving the root ball about an inch above the ground. I don’t do that. I’ve always had great success planting the tree where the ground is even with the top of the root ball.

If the tree you’re planting is a ball and burlap tree, be sure to cut away all of the burlap fabric from the root ball before placing the tree inside the hole. Again, you’ll only fill in the hole with dirt up to where it’s even with the top of the root ball.

Planting Leyland Cypress for Screening


Recently, I planted three Savannah Holly trees in my side yard. Since those trees were quite large (30 gallon size) I built up a little berm around the top of the tree to help hold the water when I hand water the trees. If you aren’t familiar with berms, a berm is just a mound of dirt that encircles the tree as pictured below.

A berm isn’t necessary but is sometimes helpful if you will be hand watering a large tree, especially a tree that’s planted on a sloped area where the water tends to run off before it has time to soak in.

Create a Berm Around Tree For Hand Watering


Here’s how the Leyland Cypress trees looked once planted and mulched with pine straw. Always add some kind of mulch around your newly planted trees to help retain moisture in between waterings.

After your trees have been in the ground a few weeks, you may want to add a few fertilizer spikes around the drip line of the tree. Each time it rains, the spikes will release a small amount of fertilizer into the surrounding soil so you won’t need to worry with remembering to fertilize your newly planted trees. Just follow the package directions regarding how many spikes to use and where they should be placed around the tree.

Leyland Cypress Planted  For Screening


If you’ve been thinking about planting some trees in your landscape, do it now. Fall is the ideal time to plant trees because the roots will grow all fall and winter and your tree will be well established before the hot temperatures arrive next summer.

Happy planting!

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Looking forward to the other Before and Afters for this Met Monday!

Met Monday


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  1. Good morning Susan..thanks for all of the planting tips…Leylands do make such a wonderful privacy shrub…we have planted both Leylands and Ligustrums and they both grew so quickly….You have such a beautiful yard. Thanks for hosting Susan!! Have a great day!

    • Thanks, Shirley! I just read/learned about Ligustrums this year…I wasn’t sure if they would get tall enough to provide coverage on the screened porch since it a full story up. Did your’s do okay this winter? They are really pretty in the pictures I found online!

  2. Thanks for hosting us, Susan. I like your Leyland Cypress where you’ve planted them, and I’ll bet you’ll be glad you chose them again.

  3. We have red clay here too Susan. Planting those trees is a job! Happy Growing πŸ™‚

  4. crumpety cottage says

    Hi Susan, I’m glad you figured out what you wanted over there. I love Leyland Cypress trees. It’s like having beautiful Christmas trees year round. πŸ˜€ We have quite a few along the back portion of our lot and they are awesome. That’s the same side as the Holly trees, right? That’s going to look beautiful.

    Boy, I’m glad that job is over with!

  5. Good job! I envy your energy.


  6. Great information Susan.After adding our screened in porch we would like to add some privacy to our yard.And yes this is a great time to plant.Thanks so much for hosting!

  7. Hi Susan, Visiting from Scavenger Chic. I too had a backyard of Leylands. I lost half of them in the blizzards a couple of years ago. Being in Georgia, you may not have to worry about those, but during one of my many trips to the dump, I ran into a landscaper. He too, was getting rid of leyland branches, he said he would never plant them again due to their split tops, which really tend to split during snowstorms, and their shallow roots which tend to uproot. He suggested green giant arborvitae , which look very similar and grow fairly fast. Good luck with your leylands, I miss mine.

    • Mine went through a lot of snow storms and at least three really bad ice storms…the kind that shut the roads down for days and never had any problem. They were planted pretty close together so maybe they helped support each other. I loved them and I think they would still look great if they had been planted where the lower sections could have gotten more light. They kind of shaded themselves out after 20 years. Sorry you had so much trouble. I have seen the giant arborvitae online and they are pretty, too!

  8. Susan, you gave your muscles quite a workout digging in red clay! Good thing that you didn’t plant the cryptomeria because we moved one that we have and now it’s all brown. We can’t tell if it’s dead or has already turned the bronze color that you described! I think you made the right choice!

  9. Hi Susan! Leylands do such a good job that it’s hard to find anything better for screening! Thanks for all the tips and for hosting!…hugs…Debbie

  10. Your Leylands look like they are a little bigger than what we started out with. Now they have probably grown at least three feet because they are just a little higher than the back fence. The neighbors across the fence had a landscaper plant some that were higher than the fence to start with, and they are really growing, too. We all hope to have a forest out here pretty soon!

  11. Excellent job Susan! You’ve got it down! The berm is a great idea- especially with a slope. As we discussed most people don’t get enough water to the new plants and the poor tree/shrub struggles to exist. It sounds like the Leyland Cypress will deliver the best option. One thing to consider as they age when they get a bit sparse at the bottom is to add a shrub in front of them to fill in the lower area and give a 2nd layer to enjoy!
    Thanks as always for hosting the party!

    • Great idea, Liz! Have you ever heard of trimming Leyland Cypress? When I was buying mine, another customer was there buying a bunch. She has used them all around her yard and was raving about them. I told her my story about how mine had lasted a really long time but eventually after 20 years got scraggley looking toward the bottom and a bit too big for the area. She told me I should trim them…she said she trims hers all the time to keep them the height she wants. I had never thought about trimming them.

  12. Thanks for hosting! Hope your week is off to a great start!

  13. Hi Susan, I love leyand cypress and think that they’ll look so pretty as they continue to grown and fill out . . . and provide more privacy.
    They’re also quite pretty wrapped in Christmas lights :0) (Just a little idea as we approach December)
    Thanks so much for hosting another wonderful party!
    Have a great week,

  14. considering your attention to detail. I’m betting your landscape efforts will turn out perfect.

  15. Love the Leyland Cypress, Susan. It does make a lovely hedge and a wonderful place for the birds! Always a delight to join your party- I do appreciate you hosting,

  16. Lot’s of hard work, Susan-but will be well worth it in the end! I love the above idea of wrapping the leyand cypress in Christmas lights! Thank you so much for hosting another great party!

  17. Great tutorial, and I’m sure your new trees will grow up to be quite lovely. One general piece of advice that I would add (being an engineer who works for the local electric utility): Before digging tree holes on your property call for Bluestake. This way all public utilities will be properly located and marked so you will not accidentally dig into them. One call to Bluestake should cover electric, phone, cable, water, gas, and sewage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Always call for Bluestake. :0)

  18. I think they will be absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for hosting!

  19. We’ve been in our home for 12 years and although we have a wonderfully large front yard, we wanted it screened from traffic. We planted Leyland cypress trees and, despite unwanted attention from deer, they have thrived and are lovely. We have since planted some azaleas and several Japanese maples at one end to add color and grace.

    Love you blog and appreciate the effort you put into your posts and party!


  20. You are really getting your yard looking good. A lot of hard work, but I’m sure it will be worth it. Wouldn’t those cypress look pretty from your porch with twinkle lights at Christmas?

  21. My parents have these trees in their yard, and I’ve always liked how they look. Thanks so much for the party, Susan — enjoy your week! πŸ™‚

  22. These are going to look gorgeous Susan – and just perfect for fairy lights !!!
    Thanks so much for another great party and have a wonderful week

  23. Thanks for the party!!


  24. Hi Susan. I’m a new follower and this is my first time linking up. Thanks for the information on the Leyland Cypress. I’ve been researching fast growing trees for our new home site, so I was happy to see this. Thanks for the party, too. ~ Nancy

  25. Hi Susan. Great planting tips and kudos to you for digging in the red clay…tough job. πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for hosting and hope you have a great week.

  26. Hi Susan! The people we bought home left a Leyland Cypress still in the pot. I think your planting guidelines will work perfectly for me because we have the same red clay soil. Thanks for sharing and for the party.

  27. It’s always hard to remove trees, but your new ones will grow fast and soon you will once again have the privacy you crave. Thanks for the party!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  28. I wish I had a green thumb. I’m just going to have to suck it up and dig in and try again. Thanks for hosting.

    Shannon ~ bohemianjunktion.com

  29. Love the cypress trees and your house! Thanks for hosting this party! So many goodies and inspiration! Have a lovely week! Good luck with your trees! πŸ™‚

  30. Thanks for the party Susan, your energy knows no bounds! I always admire the way you aren’t afraid to tackle the hard projects, it looks great!

  31. Girl, I love your yard! If I only had the room… :/

  32. Thanks so much for the party. Love the Cypress trees.

  33. Lots of great advice Susan! You had me until you said dig a hole with a shovel. I’m not that strong. But I know a certain fella I could get to do it! Thanks for the party.

  34. Christina McCall says

    Susan, the Leyland Cypress looks great. I have planted Arborvitaes before and now have lost one because they are prone to bagworms. Yuk!!!! So I am going to go with the Leyland Cypress, I think they are much hardier. Great work!!

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