What is the Difference Between Arborvitae and Leyland Cypress: A Comprehensive Guide

Arborvitae and Leyland cypress are two popular ornamental plants that have become increasingly famous among homeowners looking to add greenery to their outdoor space. Although both evergreen trees share some similarities, there are significant differences between them that one needs to know before making their purchase.

Arborvitae is a slow-growing coniferous tree known for its beautiful dense foliage and narrow pyramidal shape. Its leaves are scale-like and dark green in color, providing excellent privacy and screening in landscapes. Arborvitae is relatively low-maintenance, making it an ideal choice for homeowners who don’t have much time to devote to gardening.

On the other hand, Leyland cypress is a fast-growing evergreen tree that has become a favorite among landscapers and homeowners due to its remarkable growth rate. It has soft, plumed foliage and a narrow pyramidal shape, which makes it an excellent choice for windbreaks, hedging, or privacy screens. However, unlike arborvitae, Leyland cypress requires more maintenance to prevent diseases and pests. Understanding the difference between these two popular ornamental trees can help homeowners make informed decisions for their outdoor space.

Arborvitae Characteristics

Arborvitae, also known as Thuja, is a popular evergreen tree that is native to North America. It belongs to the cypress family and is commonly used as a hedge, screen, or windbreak due to its dense foliage and tall height. Here are some of its unique characteristics:

  • Height: Arborvitae can grow up to 50 feet tall, making it the perfect choice for adding privacy to your property.
  • Foliage: The leaves of Arborvitae are scale-like and arranged in flattened sprays. The color can range from green to yellow-green depending on the variety.
  • Shape: Arborvitae has a conical or columnar shape that can be pruned to maintain its form. Its branches are densely packed, creating a thick cover.
  • Growth rate: Arborvitae has a moderate growth rate of 6-12 inches per year. It prefers well-drained soil and can thrive in full sun or partial shade.
  • Uses: Arborvitae is commonly used as a privacy screen or hedge due to its tall height and dense foliage. It can also be planted as a specimen tree or used in groups for a natural look.

Leyland Cypress Characteristics

Leyland Cypress is a fast-growing evergreen tree that is native to North America. It is a popular choice for hedges, windbreaks, and privacy screens due to its rapid growth and dense foliage. Here are some characteristics that set Leyland Cypress apart from other trees:

  • Leyland Cypress can grow up to 60-70 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide, making it one of the largest trees in the Cypress family.
  • The tree has a conical shape and its branches start low on the trunk, making it perfect for screens or hedges.
  • The foliage of Leyland Cypress is soft and feathery, with blue-green or bright green leaves that have a slightly lemony scent.
  • The tree’s bark is brown or gray and has a fibrous texture.
  • It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to grow properly.

While Leyland Cypress may sound like the perfect tree for your yard, it is important to note some potential drawbacks.

For example, the tree is vulnerable to a type of canker disease called Seiridium canker, which can weaken or kill the tree. This disease can be prevented by avoiding over-watering and over-fertilizing, and promptly pruning infected branches.

Another potential downside of Leyland Cypress is that it can outgrow its space quickly, making regular pruning necessary. Additionally, its shallow root system makes it susceptible to wind damage if not properly supported.

Despite these potential drawbacks, Leyland Cypress is still a popular choice for those looking to create a hedge or screen due to its fast growth and dense foliage. If you are considering planting Leyland Cypress in your yard, it may be helpful to consult with a professional to ensure it is the right choice for your specific landscape needs.

Arborvitae Growth Rate

Arborvitae, also known as Thuja, is a popular evergreen tree or shrub that is commonly used for ornamental and privacy purposes. One of the key factors to consider when choosing Arborvitae is its growth rate, as it can play a significant role in its overall appearance and maintenance.

  • The average growth rate of Arborvitae is approximately 3 to 4 feet per year, depending on the species and environmental conditions.
  • Slow growing varieties of Arborvitae can grow at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year
  • Fast-growing varieties of Arborvitae can grow up to 6 to 10 feet per year

It is essential to consider the growth rate of Arborvitae when planting them in your landscape. Choosing a fast-growing species may provide you with quick results but may also lead to more upkeep and maintenance. Whereas a slow growing species may require patience but may ultimately result in less maintenance in the long run.

Below is a table that indicates the growth rate of different Arborvitae species:

Species Name Growth Rate
Emerald Green Arborvitae 4 to 9 inches per year
American Arborvitae 12 to 24 inches per year
Giant Arborvitae 12 to 24 inches per year

It is crucial to remember that the growth rate may vary depending on environmental conditions such as soil, climate, and sunlight exposure. Therefore, proper care and maintenance of your Arborvitae, such as regular pruning, watering and fertilizing, can help ensure optimal growth and health.

Leyland Cypress Growth Rate

One of the most common questions people ask about Leyland Cypress is, “How fast does it grow?” The answer is, very fast! Leyland Cypress is known for its rapid growth rate, making it a popular choice for those who want a quick privacy wall or windbreak.

  • On average, Leyland Cypress grows 2-3 feet per year
  • In ideal growing conditions, it can grow up to 4-5 feet per year
  • It typically reaches a height of 30-40 feet and a width of 10-15 feet

However, it is important to note that Leyland Cypress requires regular maintenance to keep its fast growth rate in check. If left unchecked, it can grow taller than desired and become difficult to manage. Regular pruning and trimming can help keep it at the desired height and width.

In addition, the growth rate of Leyland Cypress can vary depending on a number of factors, including soil type, climate, and amount of sunlight it receives. It is important to choose the right location for planting and to provide adequate care to ensure healthy growth.

Growth Rate Height (ft) Width (ft)
2-3 feet per year 30-40 10-15
Up to 4-5 feet per year (ideal conditions) Up to 60 Up to 20

Overall, Leyland Cypress is an excellent choice for those looking for a fast-growing, low-maintenance privacy hedge or windbreak. Its rapid growth rate and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions make it a popular choice for homeowners and landscapers alike.

Arborvitae vs Leyland Cypress Cost Comparison

When it comes to landscaping, it’s important to consider the cost of the plants you choose. Arborvitae and Leyland cypress are both popular choices, but there are some differences in cost to keep in mind.

  • Arborvitae typically costs less than Leyland cypress. Depending on the size and variety, an arborvitae may cost anywhere from $20 to $150, while a Leyland cypress can cost anywhere from $30 to $250.
  • However, it’s worth noting that Leyland cypress tends to grow faster than arborvitae, which can result in lower maintenance costs in the long run. Additionally, a larger, more established Leyland cypress may be a better value in terms of cost per square foot than a younger arborvitae.
  • Another factor to consider is the cost of maintenance. Leyland cypress requires more trimming and pruning than arborvitae, which can be an added expense. However, if you’re handy with a pair of shears, you may be able to handle the maintenance yourself and save some money.

In summary, while arborvitae is generally less expensive than Leyland cypress, there are other factors to consider when determining the true cost of each plant. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which plant fits your budget and your landscaping needs.

Ultimately, the cost of arborvitae and Leyland cypress will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and variety of the plant, your location, and your specific landscaping needs.

Arborvitae vs Leyland Cypress Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining your landscaping is crucial to the appearance and health of your outdoor spaces. Choosing the right plants for your location and desired aesthetic is important, but understanding the maintenance requirements of those plants is equally essential. When comparing arborvitae and leyland cypress, there are some key differences to consider regarding their respective maintenance requirements.

  • Watering: Both arborvitae and leyland cypress prefer well-draining soil and require moderate to consistent watering, especially during the first few years after planting. However, leyland cypress is more tolerant of drought conditions than arborvitae and can go longer periods without water.
  • Pruning: Regular pruning is necessary for both arborvitae and leyland cypress to maintain a desired shape and size. However, arborvitae requires more frequent pruning and shaping than leyland cypress due to its slower growth rate and tendency to develop dead spots if not pruned properly.
  • Fertilizing: Both arborvitae and leyland cypress benefit from annual fertilization, with leyland cypress being slightly more tolerant of nutrient deficiencies. However, over-fertilization can lead to excessive growth and weaker branches that are prone to breaking.

Overall, leyland cypress requires less maintenance than arborvitae due to its faster growth rate and ability to tolerate drought conditions. However, both plants require regular attention to watering, pruning, and fertilizing to maintain their health and appearance.

It’s also important to note that both arborvitae and leyland cypress can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases, such as bagworms and fungal infections. Monitoring your plants for any signs of problems and addressing them promptly is key to maintaining their health and preventing further damage.

Arborvitae Leyland Cypress
Cost: $20-$150 Cost: $30-$250
Slower growth Faster growth
Lower maintenance Higher maintenance
Arborvitae Maintenance Requirements Leyland Cypress Maintenance Requirements
Requires frequent pruning to maintain shape and prevent dead spots Requires regular pruning, but less frequently than arborvitae
Requires consistent watering, especially during the first few years after planting Tolerates drought conditions better than arborvitae
Can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases, such as bagworms and fungal infections May be more tolerant of nutrient deficiencies but can still suffer from certain pests and diseases

Ultimately, the maintenance requirements of both arborvitae and leyland cypress can be managed with proper care and attention. Understanding the specific needs of each plant, monitoring for any problems, and promptly addressing any issues that arise will help ensure the continued health and beauty of your landscaping.

Arborvitae vs Leyland Cypress Planting and Care Tips

Arborvitae and Leyland cypress trees are popular choices for homeowners and landscapers alike. Both have their unique qualities, but there are also some important differences to consider when planting and caring for them.

Planting Tips

  • Choose a location with adequate sunlight, drainage, and space for the tree to grow to its full size.
  • If planting in an area with heavy clay soil, mix in organic matter to improve drainage and nutrient availability.
  • Plant in the fall or early spring to give the tree time to establish its root system before the heat of summer or cold of winter.
  • Water the tree regularly, especially during the first year after planting, to ensure it receives enough moisture to thrive.

Care Tips

Both Arborvitae and Leyland cypress trees require similar care practices to thrive:

  • Prune the trees regularly to maintain their desired shape and remove dead or damaged branches.
  • Fertilize in the early spring with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to promote healthy growth and foliage.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and prevent weed growth.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases, and treat promptly if necessary.

Key Differences

While Arborvitae and Leyland cypress trees share many similarities, there are a few key differences to consider:

Arborvitae Leyland cypress
Grows at a slower rate Grows at a faster rate
More tolerant of shade and cold weather Thrives in full sun and warmer climates
Less susceptible to pests and diseases More vulnerable to spider mites, canker disease, and root rot

By understanding these differences and following proper planting and care techniques, homeowners and landscapers can choose the tree that best suits their needs and ensure its success for years to come.

What is the Difference Between Arborvitae and Leyland Cypress?

Here are some commonly asked questions about the differences between arborvitae and leyland cypress:

1. What are the notable physical differences between arborvitae and leyland cypress?

Arborvitae has a narrow, pyramid-like shape and a lighter green color, while the leyland cypress has a thicker, conical shape and a darker green hue.

2. Which plant is better suited for hedges and screening?

Leyland cypress is often preferred for larger hedges and screening due to its faster growth rate and fuller appearance. Arborvitae is better suited for narrower hedges and smaller spaces.

3. Are both plants resistant to pests and diseases?

While both arborvitae and leyland cypress are generally resistant to pests and diseases, the latter is more susceptible to canker diseases that can kill parts of the tree.

4. Do both plants require the same amount of maintenance?

Arborvitae requires less maintenance than leyland cypress because it grows slower and needs less frequent trimming. However, both plants need regular watering and soil maintenance.

5. Which plant is better for colder climates?

Arborvitae is better adapted to colder climates than leyland cypress, but both can survive in cold temperatures with proper care.

We hope these FAQs have provided helpful information about the differences between arborvitae and leyland cypress. Thanks for reading, and feel free to visit again for more gardening tips and advice!