x Cupressocyparis leylandii
This tree is a hybrid of Monterey cypress and Alaskan cedar. Six seedlings were discovered in 1888 by C.J. Leyland at Leighton Hall in the South of Wales. The two parent trees were growing on the Leighton Hall Estate and cross bred purely by accident. Mr. Leyland continued to develop the trees with the assistance of his nephew J.M. Naylor during the early 1900’s. In 1941, rooted cuttings arrived in United States, through California, for the first time. In 1965, they found their way to Clemson University in South Carolina where their use as Christmas trees became apparent.
In England, the Leyland cypress is used as an ornamental and as a wind break. In New Zealand and Australia, it is used for wood products. In the United States, it has become a valued landscape plant and one of the most sought after Christmas trees.
This stately beauty is a sterile hybrid and must be propagated by individual cutting. Leylands are aggressive plants. They secrete a natural herbicide from their roots to reduce the competition from surrounding vegetation. In its mature form, heights of 138′ are expected, and the tree is capable of withstanding temperatures of about 0 F.
The bark of the Leyland cypress is characterized by a skin-like texture. It is quite delicate. Care should be exercised to ensure that it does not tear while being cut.
An Allergy-Free Christmas Tree?
“Christmas tree asthma” causes coughing and wheezing and can ruin Christmas for those affected. For years this problem along with associated nasal congestion and sneezing were thought to be caused by molds growing on the Christmas tree. New research, however, indicates the real culprits are oleoresins produced by the tree itself. Ironically, it is these same oleoresins that give Christmas trees their pleasant Christmas smell.
Well, now there’s hope for allergy sufferers who want to enjoy the warmth and beauty of a real Christmas tree.
Leyland cypress seems to cause little, if any, problems for those with allergies.
Baton Rouge allergy specialist Dr. A. C. Dalton, supports this observation. After hearing talk about Leyland cypress, he put one in his office. For about a week he kept it outside on the porch, afraid to force it on his patients. But when none of his patients objected and many told him they already used a Leyland, he moved it into his waiting room.
Now Dr. Dalton enthusiastically endorses Leyland cypress. He’s used one in his office for the past three years and has yet to receive a complaint.
As Christmas Trees
The Leland Cypress is an excellent choice for a living Christmas tree which should provide beauty for years to come. Even though the Leland Cypress does have the “Cypress” name, it is similar to a juniper bush than a Bald Cypress tree. It should be planted in a full sun location and will require about the same care a juniper does — very little! Plant it as soon after the Christmas holidays as you can so it can establish a root system before spring growth begins. DO NOT let the root ball dry during its stay in the house. Dead trees do not grow well even if they are planted outside.
They don’t aggravate allergies, the only way they can be propagated is through cuttings and they don’t shed or get prickly. Everybody wants that soft tree that’s not sticky.
Leyland Cypress is hardy to Zone 6. It is a pyramidal tree, to 30-40 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide which makes it good for tall screen. It is graceful, somewhat open habit of growth. Give ample room, to allow for symmetry of growth. It grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers good drainage.
The Leyland cypress is widely used as a quick growing hedge. Plant 4 to 10 feet apart, depending upon your desired results.