Q: Should dead portions of leland cypress trees be pruned?
Monday, January 4, 2016
Q: We have 19 year-old leland cypress trees that were planted by a previous owner in Georgia. They were planted too close together, so air and sun could not get to parts of the trees. We cut down 6 of them to make more space, but the remaining trees are now a major eyesore. Should we prune the dead portions?
A: These trees do not respond well to pruning and then having new branches and foliage growing in the locations along the lower trunks where foliage and branches have died. Having trees closer together than their mature growth sizes does cause loss of branches and foliage from competition for growing space, for most tree species including leland cypress. If your goal is having a line of green foliage from ground to tree top, you are best to start with new trees in this situation.
It is possible to promote growth of new branches to fill out scattered spaces of dead areas along the heights of these trees. Having a Consulting Arborist evaluate the specific condition of each tree and how much area has died is a good next step if you want to try and keep these trees and have them regenerate new foliage to cover the dead areas of canopy you see now. Find a Consulting Arborist in your area.
Responder: John Harris, RCA #468, Hollywood, FL