Will the height growth rate of 5 ft high Leyland Cypress whose leaders were cut down be affected?
I ordered some 5 ft high Leyland Cypress trees from a local nursery but when they were delivered to my property the leaders had been cut down to the branching. My landscape contractor planted them anyway but after 4 months they seem to be growing horizontally but not vertically. I wanted these trees for a quick, tall privacy screen to replace a 20 ft high laurel hedge that had died. I am wondering if these trees will ever grow tall or will they just remain bushy? I hadn't asked for the leaders to be cut and the nursery is avoiding my question about this. Am I out of luck or will I eventually get a tall privacy screen? Will the trees form useful leaders or will they just look irregular and stunted? Thank you.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The upright growth habit will likely resume in time as the trees put out new vertical growth from near the heading cuts. As regrowth appears, you can thin the shoots to select the strongest upright leaders. You can also shape back the lateral branches a little to suppress the horizontal growth and favor the upright growth. It may take a year or two for recovery, but Leyland cypress are usually vigorous upright growers.