Sunday, February 6, 2011

Native Replacement for Leyland Cypress

It's time to embrace an evergreen for screening other than Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) or Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata 'Green Giant'). Both of these trees have longevity issues in the southeast and pest problems (particularly with Leylands) abound. Needle blight, root rot, lodging and cankers plague these plants.

And they get too big for many urban landscapes. And quickly.

My replacement choice is 'Hillspire' Redcedar, Juniperus virginiana 'Hillspire'. You can get these commercially from Green Meadow Nursery in Yonges Island, South Carolina (containers) or Auckland Trees in Walterboro, South Carolina (field-grown).

Native tree with a narrow, upright growth habit, this tree will only get 20-30 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide. Much better for a garden than the imposing 60-80 feet of a Leyland Cypress.

Hillspire is a handsome plant that will work easily within your landscape- It's an underused, underutilized native with great potential.

25 comments:

  1. Damn. I was just recommending Green Giant to someone this weekend to sub for Leyland. Didn't realize they were running into problems. Funny, though. I saw Hillspire at the show and really liked it.

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  2. Hey Tony-
    They aren't horrible. But they succumb to root rot following environmental stress (e.g. drought). In the nursery, we lose them if we space them out on a hot day....they are root sensitive.

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  3. I am always in awe at the diverse conditions this species can take. Sandy dry to boggy marsh and they always look happy. Thanks for the selection tip. I will certainly pass it along as a great alternative to the dreaded LC!!

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