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The Leyland cypress (× Cuprocyparis leylandii) is widely used as a quick-growing and effective hedge or screen. However, if left un-pruned it can get out of hand and pruning taller hedges can be difficult and expensive. Likewise, excessively-large Leyland cypress hedges can shade gardens and dry the soil, making it difficult to grow other plants nearby.
Leyland cypress: pruning
This method of pruning is suitable for all cultivars of × Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress, Leylandii), Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Lawson cypress) and Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress).
Pruning should be carried out between April and the end of August, with up to three cuts during the growing season for Leyland cypress. Before pruning, check for bird nests, as it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.
In recent years, ‘Leylandii’ or Leyland cypress has been highlighted in the papers as a ‘neighbourhood nuisance’. With little or no pruning, it can quickly grow to giant proportions and overshadow gardens. Legislation governing high hedges now gives people whose gardens are affected by tall hedges the opportunity to resolve the problem without involving lawyers.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Part 8 came into force on 1 June 2005 and gives people whose 'reasonable' enjoyment of their property is impaired by the close proximity of high hedges, the chance to alleviate the effects of overbearing living screens.
To avoid brown patches, hedge trimming should be carried out during the growing season and hedges should not be cut into older, leafless growth. Leyland cypress can cause skin irritations.
Infestations of cypress aphid can be very damaging, leading to extensive areas of brown.
High hedgesHiring contractorsHedges: trimmingElectricity in the gardenHedge selection
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