Why Is a Leyland Cypress Turning Brown in the Winter in the Northeast?

Written by rebecca rogge
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Why Is a Leyland Cypress Turning Brown in the Winter in the Northeast?
The Leyland cypress is a type of Christmas tree. (evergreen branches image by Jackie DeBusk from Fotolia.com)

Leyland cypress trees are sterile hybrids that are propagated by rooted cuttings. The tree was originally discovered as an accidental hybrid in South Wales in 1888, the cross between a Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and an Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis).


Leyland cypress trees vary in appearance depending on the trees they are bred from. Leaves are dark green to grey, arranged on irregular, flat planes, with delicate bark. They grow to about 11 1/2 feet.


The Leyland cypress does not occur naturally, and so doesn't have a natural habitat. It has been successfully cultivated in England, Australia, New Zealand, California and the southeastern United States.

Cercospora Needle Blight

The fungus Cercosporidium sequoiae causes Cercospora needle blight; the needles brown at the stem, and disease spreads upward and outward over the tree. The fungus can be controlled with copper-containing fungicides.

Annosus Root Rot

Annosus root rot is a fungus that grows through the tree's root system, even infecting nearby trees through root contact. The fungus causes the tree to turn red-brown. Once infected, there is no cure.


The Leyland cypress is predominately successful in the southeastern United States. When planted in the Northeast, Leyland cypress turn brown if temperatures drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

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