Asked February 14, 2020, 1:21 PM EST

We are starting to buy replacement windbreaker trees. We are replacing about 60 blue Spruce that are diseased, and losing their needles. We are changing to Green Giant Arborvitaes. Have bought from 3 different places. Wanted to buy green giant arborvitaes. Think we may have also gotten Leyland Cypress. Can you tell by these photos what we have ?
Also is there a way to tell the difference going forward from here? We need at least 50 more. Thanks Sue

Lenawee County Michigan

1 Response

Your last picture appears to be the Leyland cypress; however it can be difficult to tell the two apart. I recommend saving the tags that are typically attached to any plant material at purchase to help ID down the road.

"Green Giant" grows to a maximum average height of about 60 feet, with a maximum width of about 14 feet. In optimum environments, the tree can grow up to 4 feet per year. The Leyland cypress is a bit larger -- it grows to a maximum height of about 70 feet, with a maximum average width of around 15 feet.

Both trees have a pyramidal form, but a Leyland cypress is thinner, with branches spreading to a width of 10 to 15 feet, while a "Green Giant" plumps out to 20 feet. The fruits of both mature to brown, but "Green Giant" has oblong cones about 1/2 inch long, while Leyland cypress cones are slightly larger at 3/4 inch. While only 1/4" difference, this may be the best way to tell these two conifers apart. Perhaps the information and images in the links below will help.