How to Prune Leyland Cypress

Written by kathryn hatter | 13/05/2017

Leyland cypress trees grow into large pyramid-shaped trees that may be as tall as 70 feet and as wide as 20 feet. Gardeners often choose Leyland cypress trees as privacy screens and wind breaks in a landscape or yard. Because Leyland cypress trees are evergreens, they grow quickly and do not typically need extensive pruning to maintain their beautiful shape. Train these trees while they are young to grow attractive Leyland cypress trees in your yard.

Examine the Leyland cypress tree during a period when you expect the weather to be dry. Gardeners should prune Leyland cypress trees during dry periods because pruning during wet periods may introduce disease.

Spread the tarp under the tree to catch the branches and foliage as you cut them off. Set up the stepladder if you will need to use it to reach the top of the tree. Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands from tree sap.

Use the lopper to remove broken and dead branches. You must remove these branches to prevent decay from compromising the tree.

Determine if the tree needs trimming along the top, sides and bottom. If you will be limiting the height and width of the tree, cut back the tree to the desired shape and height with the lopper. Trim as much height and width from the tree as desired. Leyland cypress trees will grow quite tall and wide if a gardener does not remove height to prevent this. Use the lopper freely to shape the tree on all sides.

Clip smaller branches and foliage off with the pruning shears to finish shaping the tree. If the tree growth is dense in the centre of the tree, thin the branches to promote better air circulation and light exposure.

Step back to assess your pruning work and make any additional trims, if necessary.

Remove the tarp and discard the trimmed branches.


Leyland cypress trees tolerate extreme pruning, when necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Leyland cypress trees tolerate extreme pruning, when necessary.

Things you need

  • Leyland cypress tree
  • Lopper
  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • Stepladder
  • Tarp

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