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Leyland Cypress in poor drainage area

Q: Our backyard does not drain very well, so is wet longer if it rains. We are trying to create a screen at the back yard. Our soil is rocky.

What would you recommend as a good evergreen tree to plant? Can we consider Leyland Cypress?

A: Although Leyland cypress can sometimes tolerate poor drainage, I would not recommend its use for your screen. It can grow to 70 feet tall and up to 20 feet wide, so it wouldn't make a good, short screen.

It'll probably make a good quick screen, but then soon outgrow its available space (unless you have a large yard).

However, if you have a drainage problem, it's best to correct the problem and not try to plant trees that are tolerant of wet conditions, hoping they'll survive. I recommend you call someone in who can fix the drainage, then plant appropriately.

In any event, the bald cypress will tolerate water-logged soils, so if push comes to shove you could plant bald cypress.

They, too, can get large (we have a 60-footer here behind our office), so be sure you have enough space for it as it grows.

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Tom Mugridge

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