Leylandii: What you need to know

Leylandii is a conifer which is a cross between C. Nootkatensis and C. Macrocarpa. The result is one of the most widely planted trees or hedging in the UK over the last 50 years. 

The most common variety is Cupressocyparis Leyland (Leyland Cypress). Other varieties include Cupressocyparis Leylandii Castlewellan Gold (Golden Leyland Cypress) which is slower growing and displays a wonderful golden colour throughout the spring and summer months.

 

Close up of folaige and a 3m tall Cupressocyparis Leylandii, Leyland Cypress.
Close up of folaige and a 3m tall Cupressocyparis Leylandii, Leyland Cypress.

 

Why is Leylandii so popular?

Leylandii ticks all the boxes for so many requirements in modern society. Number one is the quest for privacy in even a small garden and the desire to “shut out” the neighbours by creating a natural screen. Leylandii will grow around one metre per annum and will quickly form a dense hedge. Leylandii has the advantage of being evergreen, which means it can provide you with a beautiful green hedge all year round. Add to this the fact that Leylandii will grow in most soils, is tolerant of salt laden winds and is easily clipped into a formal hedge and its appeal becomes obvious.

 

Trimming a Leylandii hedge
Trimming a Leylandii hedge

 

Caring for Leylandii
You will be aware of the potential problems its rapid growth can cause and the negative publicity Leylandii can generate. Aware of the thousands of disputes going on in this country between neighbours, the government introduced legislation in 2005 to alleviate the anti social behaviour of some individuals when denying neighbours sufficient light and air. Leylandii will not create issues of this nature if they are trimmed twice each summer to retain a certain size. It’s a shame that these stories scare people into overlooking Leylandii when choosing trees or hedge plants for their garden.

 

Sparrow sitting on Leyland hedge
A Leylandii hedge is perfect for attracting wildlife to your garden.

 

A haven for wildlife
One of the greatest benefits this tree has to offer is often overlooked. It is a most valuable haven for wildlife and creates an important urban habitat.

 

Despite the negative publicity Leylandii remains as popular as ever, for all these reasons.

 

Further reading about Leylandii:

Leylandii Trees

Leylandii Hedge

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Leyland cypress