One of the popular plant species that homeowners and commercial property investors prefer for their fences and screens is the leylandii or Leyland Cypress. It is effective because it is quick-growing. However, it requires regular maintaining because its shots and branches can overgrow to make an ugly mess.

You need to prune leylandii strategically so that it doesn’t grow too big to be tamed while still preserving the aesthetic performance that well-maintained Leyland cypress hedges offer. 

Taming the hedge plant is also important to prevent it from shading plants and drying your garden soil.


Taming the Fast Growth

Property owners adore Leyland Cypress because it can fence and screen your property quickly; it can grow up to four feet annually, and you must regulate the maximum height by regularly trimming after achieving the maximum desired height. It is great for wind breaking boundaries and security fencing. It can grow into robust sizes, and it does very well on large sites such as schools and business parks. 

You should always plant them separately to allow them enough space for the fast coming growth. Otherwise, they may extend their shoots and branches into each other, causing plant wounds. That is why you should ensure an 8-feet space between each for the projected growth curve. Still, expect the Leyland Cypress hedge to outgrow its allocated space. You need to keep pruning it strategically to keep it looking neat as well as to maintain its desired height.

Cypress pruning Cottage
Cypress pruning

Seasonal Pruning

No one wants overlapping and scrapping cypress branches and a shaggy hedge fence. However, nobody wants to damage the aesthetic potential of their fence by pruning it at the wrong time or with the wrong technique. 

Leyland Cypress pruning is an art that is based on seasons and botanical science; you can only prune it between April and August after the harsh and chilly cold winter melts down. 

That is the optimal growing season for the fence plant, and you can cut it three times depending on its size and stage of maturity. 


How to Trim a Leyland Cypress

Generally speaking, conifer plants do not regenerate well when their hardwood is cut, and the Leyland Cypress is no exception. You must only cut the young green shoots. In the first year of its growth, cut its overgrown side shoots during the peak growing season between April and August. Make sure to support the leading shoots that are growing vertically by tying it to an overhead cane or pole. Trim the side shoots moderately to encourage growth in the main body of the hedge. 

In the second year of its growth, trim the side shoots again during the peak growth time to encourage a consistent neatness. Continue to do so every other year without cutting the top shoots as it could prevent the hedge from achieving the desired height. After achieving the height you desire, trim the hedge top six inches downwards. It will lead to a regeneration that will make the top dense and lush. 

Never cut any of your conifer hedges during winter and be mindful not to damage any occupied bird nests. During winter, conifers are prone to frostbite, and cutting it can lead to undesirable bare patches.