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July 14, 2018

Why are my leyland cypress turning brown?

Leyland cypress branches turn brown because of an infiltration of three types of fungi: seiridium, bought, and cercospora. These three fungi enter into the tree during the summer months when the heat enlarges the tree’s stomata (pores on the leaf) and allow entrance of the fungi.

Treatment for Leyland cypress trees turning brown.

The simplest course of action to remedy flagging Leyland cypress branches is  to prune back the dead and dying branches using a pole pruner that has been disinfected with six parts water 1 part bleach.   Secondly, spread 2 to 3 in of mulch all the way to the outer tips of the branches, and finally ensure that the tree stay watered during times of drought.

About Leyland Cypress in Georgia

Every year we get lots of calls from people seeing that their Leyland cypress trees are turning brown.  

Leyland cypress trees are not the best trees to have in Georgia. Instead, we recommend Arborvitae green Giants. They grow at about the same rate, but they’re much hardier for our environment.

Leyland cypress is came from the United Kingdom, they are a hybrid tree,  and the best way to describe their ability to live in Hotlanta is akin to trying to place an organ into a body of a different blood type. The bottom line is the body wants to reject the organ. That’s very similar to Leyland cypresses in our  climate zone.

In Atlanta it is simply too hot, it gets too cold, and our rain is too sporadic In the Heat of the summer.

Leyland cypress trees like lots of water. They do not do well in times of drought. Effectively when it gets super hot, the pores on their leaf known as stomata open up and allow three type of fungi into their system.    These three fungi are known as seiridium, bot, and cercospora.

Once in, the only effective treatment or remedy is to remove that section of the branch.

Poor Planting Practice

Another reason that Leyland cypresses are often stressed in Atlanta is because people plant them too close together.   This causes the lelands to grow into each other, interfering with each other’s ability to gather light from the sun and photosynthesize.   The result is that they have to shut down the branches that they just spent energy creating. This is not a good return on investment, in fact it’s a waste of energy  that could have been allocated toward other growth such as roots, or trunk girth, or height Etc.

Root Stimulating Service

Also, often people will add root stimulators to Leyland cypresses. Stimulating root growth simultaneously reduces canopy growth  giving less chance for fungi to attack new water sprouts. Also, developing a strong root system helps the tree to fight off future attacks.

If you would like to get on our schedule to have your Leyland cypresses Roots stimulated, please give us a call at (770) 758-8590.

If you plan on doing the pruning of the dead and dying Brown Leyland cypress branches yourself, we would recommend using the Jameson pole pruners.


It is the tool that we use.   For a hundred and thirty some odd dollars, it’s well worth it. The tool is super strong and super sharp. Honestly in comparison to having a tree service come out, it’s probably worth having the professional-grade tools. Especially if you want to do the best job for your tree.  Yes, this is a paid link, so it’d be awesome if you use it. I may make a buck or two for doing this blog post 🙂

Even though we don’t do it a lot, if you would like to have us come out and prune your Leyland cypresses, we are happy to do it. I will say a head of time it’s a rather expensive service, but if you don’t feel like getting out and doing it yourself and you would like the pros to take care of it for you, we would be more than happy to serve you!!


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