Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 Trees Questions

Fast growing shade tree for East Texas Piney Woods
April 11, 2013 - What is the fastest growing shade tree for E.Tx.Piney Woods? We have an area that desperately needs protection from the summer heat. The site is comprised of gumbo clay and there are no other plants t...
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tree for Baltimore Patio
September 11, 2013 - I am looking for a deep-rooted shade tree (or a tall shrub) for near my patio in Baltimore, Md. I desire shade in summer, but with minimum impact to the patio. The tree would be about 20 feet from the...
view the full question and answer

What clips green twigs from cedar elms?
August 09, 2013 - Many small cuttings (3-5 inches long) are dropping from large cedar elm. To my eye the ends look like breaks (not chiseled), but I can't imagine what would cause so many breaks, and so think somethin...
view the full question and answer

Runaway growth on mountain laurel in Coolidge AZ
July 01, 2010 - I have 2 mountain laurels. They are thriving well. In fact one is growing way too fast. I am growing it as a tree, but the branches are in excess of 6 feet, while the trunk is only 18 or so inches. I ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.