Leyla cypress looks dead in middle

Asked December 12, 2018, 5:52 PM EST

There is an abandoned house next door. It appears a person from bank may have sprayed for weeds and overspray landed on our trees. A line across middle of trees is brown and limbs appear dead. Will they produce any new growth??

Middlesex County New Jersey

3 Responses

Leyland cypress was recommended widely about 20 years ago, as a fast growing, evergreen landscape tree. These trees were good for property lines and privacy screens. What we have found over the past 20 years, is that many times the trees were planted too close together. As the leyland cypress grew, they often grew together and became over-crowded. The crowded growth and maturity of the trees led to lack of air circulation, stress, and increased disease and insect pests. Bagworms are often a problem on leyland cypress. Leyland cypress is also very susceptible to winter injury and wind damage, but leyland cypress does not re-grow a nice shape after pruning. Often we recommend that homeowners and landscapers remove every other tree to reduce crowding and stress.

There are a couple of plant diseases that affect leyland cypress, caused by opportunistic fungal pathogens. Keep trees in good health and vigor, and try to avoid environmental stresses by planting properly and in good sites (not windy, good drainage), to avoid tree diseases.

With your tree, I cannot tell if the brown branches were due to spray or chemical injury. Prune out the brown dead branches close to the main trunk. You may want to plant something else next to it along that fence row for the future.

Thank you for contacting Cooperative Extension,

The abandoned house next door is being maintained by a landscaping service for the bank. It appears they sprayed to kill vines growing over their entire length of fence front and side. The trees are green on bottom and top just not along the fence edge which is in the middle of trees. Trees a bit further down the line are ok as they couldn’t be accessed from their yardages.

It may be that they sprayed your trees or spray drifted on to your trees, especially because the damage is only in that middle zone of the tree next to the fence. It may be worth asking the maintenance company. I can't test for chemical residue though.You can prune and they will re-grow, but leyland does not re-grow its shape well.

Thank for contacting us,