Leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) is the world's most vigorous coniferous tree. For anyone keen to achieve privacy in their garden almost immediately, plant a Leylandii hedge! It clips well which helps make it, in every sense, an evergreen member of our range of hedging plants for sale! Its slightly shaggy fronds of bright evergreen foliage have a softness not found amongst most conifers. It will thrive in almost any soil and seems to be immune to pollution and sea winds. If left to become a mature tree, a Leylandii will reach 40 m in forty years and has an elegant, columnar shape that tapers towards the top. However, it is mainly grown as a hedge or screen and the planting spacing and therefore number of trees you will need is dictated by the height you want to achieve. Plant the trees further apart if you are aiming to screen out a large building. For an easily maintained hedge, plant them closer together at more like 60 cm apart.
You cannot fail to have a wonderful hedge very quickly using Leylandii cypress which will cut out noise and light disturbance from roads or neighbours. It makes an effective break from prevailing winds allowing you to plant more tender plants in your protected garden and will screen ugly buildings. It is also a quick solution to creating different 'rooms' in your garden so you can have areas of contrasting atmosphere and planting. But we also mean hassle from the neighbours (see below), and that translates into clipping of your trees/hedge twice a year to keep it under control. If you can do this you will keep your Leylandii at a manageable and practical height that will not involve the added expense of special equipment or even tree surgeons. Let the annual regime slip and it is hard to regain the perfection of an annually pruned hedge and it may mean that you will not be able to prune it safely yourself the following year if it has grown too high. That may sound like hard work so for an evergreen hedge that will take a little longer to grow but is easier to maintain you could consider using yew. Leylandii is delivered pot-grown all the year round and is best planted in early to mid-spring.
Cupressocyparis leylandii was created accidentally: the two American species of Cypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis and Cupressus macrocarpa) cross-fertilised in Wales by chance and the consequent hybrid was recorded in 1888 by CJ Leyland. The resulting tree was propagated by clones. By 1911, when more were discovered, it became clear that a very special tree had come into being. Under the right conditions, Leylandii can achieve a metre of growth each and every year - a feat almost unheard of for any conifer bar the giant redwoods. The wood makes high-quality structural timber and because it can be replenished so quickly Leyland cypress is very attractive commercially. These trees have almost no natural enemies (stressed trees can develop bacterial cankers but this only tends to happen if they have been cut back too hard or become very dehydrated) and so will grow anywhere. Such phenomenal growth rates have now engendered a new law - The High Hedges Act. It was drawn up specifically to give people legal recourse against neighbours who let their Leylandii get out of hand. The law can apply to any evergreen hedge over two metres tall but it was not until this tree became so popular that the law became necessary!