En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Fronds turning brown on yucca in Leander, TX
April 13, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live Northwest of Austin in Leander and have grown a spanish dagger yucca for several years. It is 8 feet tall and each spring it puts up a showy spike of blooms. The old fr...
view the full question and answer

What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
June 10, 2013 - We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
view the full question and answer

Splitting bark on non-native mimosa from Buda TX
June 24, 2012 - What would cause my Mimosa tree to have splitting bark. I've only lived in this house for 8 months and am learning about this tree. The other tree seems fine. It looks as though it split and then ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with red oak from Austin
July 31, 2013 - I planted 3 Texas Red Oaks several years ago. The trees are in a tight cluster just a few feet apart. At the end of last summer, one of them began to develop brown spots and yellowed leaves. This summ...
view the full question and answer

New growth on Amur Maple turning black in McPherson, Kansas.
June 29, 2010 - Re: Amur Maple bushes Approximately 2 yrs old, 4 ft tall. New growth at the end of some branches is turning black. Plants are mulched with grass clippings. We live in Kansas. Thanks for any info....
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center