En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 29, 2011

From: Annapolis, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Hybrid Leyland Cypress leaning in Annapolis MC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a large, 9-year old Leyland Cypress that has tipped over. It is still green and growing but leaning slightly off center. It's about 20' tall. Should we stake it? If so, we'd like to do it ourselves, but how? It's huge!!! Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

This tree has a very interesting story. It is a hybrid, which means it does not appear in our Native Plant Database, of two trees that are native to the North American Pacific Coast, Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) and Cupressus nootkatensis (Alaska cedar). It hybridized naturally because the two trees were taken to an estate in England and were close enough together to cross pollinate. Ordinarily, in their native habitats in the Pacific nothwest, they would have been 400 miles apart and would never have hybridized. Then, later, the resulting hybrid, Leyland Cypress, was exported back to the United States.

Here is an excellent article on Leyland Cypress. It's kind of small print, but we think it will be helpful to you. Many people look for a tree with a taproot, like a carrot has. They think that it will grow straight down and the roots won't get into their lawns or swimming pools. But if you consider, you can see how a root like that could cause the very problem you have. Taproot trees develop outlying roots to get more water and nutrition from the soil, but also to stabilize the tree in an upright position. It looks like your tree didn't quite get stabilized.

One note we saw on caring for this tree is that you should avoid growing in moist unstable soils - in windy areas the trees may blow over due to their rapid growth rate. Leyland cypress is a large tree unless constantly trimmed, do not plant too close to structures. That might have something to do with your tree leaning, the kind of soil it is in.

We want to point out that the parent plants of this tree are both native to areas completely across the United States from Maryland, so we are not sure how well acclimated your tree is to your soils and climate. Since we have no personal experience with either the tree or with tree staking, here is an excellent article on the procedure from Colorado State University Extension Tree Staking and Underground Stabilization.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
view the full question and answer

Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
April 22, 2008 - I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
view the full question and answer

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Thorny plant for fenceline security
December 23, 2009 - What kind of thorny plant or vine would you suggest to place along a fence for security purposes
view the full question and answer

Need fast growing shade tree in San Diego County, CA
June 17, 2015 - I am looking for a fast growing tree that provides great shade. The reason being, is I need shade for three horseshoe pits and the sooner i get shade, the better. I live in San Diego county, zone 9b. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center