Best Leyland Cypress Tree Alternatives & Factors To Consider

History dates the Leyland cypress species back to the early 1900s in Leighton Hall arboretum, Wales. The parent trees (Monterey cypress and Nootka cypress) are both native to the North American Pacific coast.

The Leyland cypress tree species is an evergreen coniferous tree that is a common feature in many homes. This tree species is a widely sort-after alternative because of its outstanding-growing abilities and manifold advantages. It is also another drought-resistant tree that has a high tolerance to saline grounds.

When we focus on the wood properties, the Leyland cypress wood not only offers countless advantages in the carpentry industry. This tree is easy to propagate and manage, making it a top consideration in furniture making.

Many other reasons make the Leyland cypress an ultimate pick. But the few advantages mentioned above make it a paramount choice in most homes.

Below are four other reasons making the Leyland cypress tree species an ultimate pick:

  • It can be used as a protective hedge or fence
  • A mature Leyland cypress tree provides ample shade to a well-manicured garden
  • Leyland cypress wood is commonly used in the manufacture of musical instruments and furniture
  • Leyland cypress wood can be efficiently utilized in exterior fittings (cladding)

Best Leyland Cypress Alternatives

When it comes to attractive landscaping, there is an emphasis on only the most beautiful substitute. Leyland cypress trees are considered at the top of the list. However, other unique and trendy alternatives can be found.

Before picking the Leyland cypress alternatives, you need to consider five crucial factors.

  • Do you want a tree that will provide you with privacy?
  • Are you looking for a tree that will provide you with shade?
  • Do you want a low-maintenance conifer tree?
  • Do you need a beautiful alternative?
  • What tree can resist fungus and diseases?

1. Privacy Eastern Red Cedar

The Eastern Red cedar is another evergreen conifer tree that is the best alternative if you are looking for a tree that can provide privacy. The Eastern Red cedar is a rugged and large tree with compact and thick foliage that provides dense sight.

Four reasons why it is the best choice

  • Some species of the Eastern Red cedar grow to a maximum of 60 feet tall and range between 10 to 20 feet wide at maturity.
  • Because the Eastern Red cedar grows more extensively as it ages, it is best suited for large backyards. You need to plant these trees 20 feet apart to allow sufficient growing space.
  • It is a fast-growing tree. The red cedar grows from 1 to 1 1/2 feet per year. It can reach a height of about 30 to 35 feet (maturity), and its branches can spread 12 to 15 feet.
  • Moths hardly attack it.

Second option: the Green Giant Arborvitaes are a popular choice because of their fast maturity rate, no tolerance to disease, and high resistance to pests and deer browsing.

They are a perfect choice for both privacy screens and windbreaks.

2. Shade

As much as a mature Leyland cypress tree provides shade to your garden, other alternatives can match its bargains.

Variegated Elkhorn Cedar

The variegated elkhorn cedar is a shade conifer tree that can grow a little taller than the average gardener. It offers cheery green and white foliage. The variegated elkhorn cedar is native to the wet forests of southern Japan.

Elkhorn cedar trees assume a somewhat scaled look and tend not to overgrow the 15 feet mark. Its thick foliage hugs the stem tightly and provides shade.

Note: When planting the variegated elkhorn cedar, make sure that the space between the two plants does not exceed 15 feet because even after maturity, these trees will not have wide branches.

3. Maintenance

Even the best trees need continuous maintenance. Pruning, fertilizer application, and trimming are the two basic and most popular maintenance techniques homeowners apply. You will be surprised to find out that some trees like the Leyland cypress need minimum handling.

The Leyland cypress tree will still look attractive even if it is left unattended for weeks. If you are looking for a Leyland cypress alternative, consider the dwarf conifers tree species.

Blue Colorado Spruce

The blue Colorado spruces have a striking color and sharp texture. Given how wonderful the Colorado blue spruce is, nature seems to have kept it a closely-kept secret for a very long time.

In a year, this tree species grow between 3 to 4 inches tall and spread up to 8 feet wide in their maturity. The maximum height is 4 feet tall. Blue Colorado spruce is a precise choice for use in landscape redecoration. Most homeowners prefer this choice because it can undoubtedly blend with other tree species in the same compound.

It is listed as one of the most well-liked evergreens.

4. Beauty

In terms of garden beauty, Leyland cypress trees offer unique landscape splendor. Their beauty can often be evident if you plant the trees together in a straight row. It is possible to trim mature Leyland cypress trees to your specifications and enhance the appearance of the lawn and driveway.

North Star Dwarf White Spruce

Without the Leyland cypress, you can go with the North Star Dwarf White Spruce. The North Star Dwarf White Spruce is a magnificent conifer tree that can substitute the Leyland cypress if you search for an ideal substitute. This compact evergreen tree assumes a pyramidal shape and is covered with tiny green needles.

Compared to other landscape plants with coarser foliage, it stands out because of its relatively fine texture. A mature North Star Dwarf White Spruce can reach 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. This shrub requires little care. It does not have any significant drawbacks.

Its beauty comes naturally because you will not need to prune or maintain it. Only the new growth from the current season should be pruned when it is necessary, with the exception of removing any dieback. The neat and tidy shape of this particular tree makes it an ideal choice if you are looking for an alternative to use on the driveway/backyard.

You should only grow this shrub in full sun, and it also prefers medium to moist conditions, thus don’t allow the soil to dry out. It is not selective about pH or soil type and can tolerate some urban pollution and will benefit also from a relatively protected location.

5. Resistant To Fungus And Diseases

The Leyland cypress is usually affected by the Seiridium Canker and Twig Dieback.

The fungi Seiridium Cardinale, Seiridium Cupressi, and Seiridium Unicorne cause substantial damage to not only the Leyland cypress tree but also different species of conifers trees.

Serbian Spruce

When looking for an alternative option that is resistant to fungus, consider the Serbian spruce. The Serbian spruce is a graceful evergreen conifer tree with light green foliage and a bluish cast. This is a particularly distinctive conifer tree, which has upright, weeping branches and blue-green needles with silver undersides.

It is also a disease-resistant tree species than the Leyland cypress tree. The Serbian spruce tree grows tall to 50-60 feet and 20-25 feet wide if not trimmed early. It typically increases in height by three feet each year with a low annual growth rate of between 10% and 14%.

The Serbian spruce is also tolerant to atmospheric pollution, making it the best alternative to the Leyland cypress tree.

Wood Manufacturing

When talking about the best Leyland cypress alternatives, need not forget about the products this tree offers. Leyland cypress tree produces good wood for construction and furniture making.

Wood Characteristics

Its beautiful appearance and distinctive finish characterize the Leyland cypress wood. It also has excellent gluing and paint-holding properties, which are desirable in furniture engineering.

To know the best Leyland cypress wood alternative, if you are looking for the best construction wood, you should understand the three basic properties.

1. Structure

The wood structure includes the physical details that are evident in the tree’s structure. The grain, sapwood, heartwood, cambium, and knots vary with different tree species. Some wood grains are straight. But, others will be spiral, interlocked, irregular, and wavy.

Most cypress wood sapwood is light in color. The heartwood tends to look black but varies from a pale yellow-brown to a dark reddish-brown. The Leyland cypress grains are straight.

However, you can observe small knots that create a more irregular grain pattern. An alternative to the Leyland cypress tree is the Bald cypress.

Bald cypress is resistant to decay, making it a preferred choice for outdoor construction.

2. Texture And Microstructure

The irregular pattern that the fibers, medullary rays, and yearly layers of wood create is the texture. The width of annual rings, on the other hand, categorizes wood macrostructure.

Leyland cypress trees have a beautiful and uniform texture, which acts as an excellent natural luster. An alternative to this is the Norway spruce. The Norway spruce is native to Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. People don’t often use it as a Christmas tree but it has many industrial uses.

Norway spruces are common in North America and southeastern Canada. The somewhat soft texture and sturdy microstructure of the Norway spruce make it a good choice for acoustic stringed instruments.

3. Internal Stress And Strength

Internal stresses in the wood can have negative impacts during cultivation. This can occur naturally if a tree does not mature correctly or if there was mechanical stress. Although the Leyland cypress tree suffers less internal stress, you must observe proper care as the tree grows.

The Virescens Western Red Cedar is another great alternative for the Leyland cypress. The Western red cedar is the largest tree in the cypress family and is easy to maintain, and its wood is ideal for furniture making.


Wood that cracks and bends easily is considered meager. A weak wood structure is often a result of an increase in wood moisture. The Leyland cypress measures 430 lbs (1,890 N) on the Janka Hardness scale, and its crushing strength measures 5,510 lb/in2 (38.0 MPa).

These measurements show that the Leyland cypress is one of the many tough tree species that the furniture industries use. But, with the above alternatives, you have more than enough choices to consider.

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