Why Is My Leyland Cypress Turning Brown From the Inside Out?

Close-up of a Leyland Cypress branch, its vibrant green needles contrasting with some that are turning brown from the inside out.

It is bad news if your Leyland cypress is turning brown from the inside out. Leyland cypresses offer not only a majestic height but also an environmental aesthetic and a variety of uses. The Leyland cypress can reach up to 50 feet, which is ideal for providing privacy fencing in your home.

It is a perfect plant with mixed resistance to insect attraction and rot. It is quite common for Leyland Cypress to start turning brown from the inside out.

Let’s take a look at the most common causes of such issues.

Reasons Why Your Leyland Cypress Is Turning Brown From Inside Out

1. Insects

The bagworm is one major enemy of the Leyland cypress tree. They tend to weave the Leyland cypress needle fragments to form bags and can attach entirely to the trees. The bags typically contain the insect larvae that then pupate into adult moths. As the insects grow, they feed on the needles, making them brown.

Also, check if there is any webbing, which is a sure sign of infestation. This dramatically affects the plant as they reduce the chlorophyll matter.

The spruce spider mites are also a major enemy of the Leyland cypress. They feed on the plant by extracting needle sap through their mouths.

If you find yellow-striped leaves or brown needles, be sure that there is a heavy infestation.

How To Solve Insect Infestation

Certain pesticides can be used to control the insects; however, it is not recommended when the tree is mature.

Also, ensure you closely monitor the plant regularly.

2. Specific Diseases

Certain fungal pathogens can enter through the tree bark and cause cankers. Lesions tend to form on the twigs and branches. They then cut off nutrients from reaching the tree branches making them die, and the needles turn quickly.

The cankers easily affect stressed plants and can even show dark brown or purple discoloration.

How To Solve Canker Diseases

To treat this, prune out infected branches and sterilize the equipment you use in maintaining the tree. Also, maintain proper irrigation and use relevant fungicides to help solve the issue when the plant is still small.

3. Blight

Blight mainly causes the Leyland cypress needles to turn brown and drop. It usually starts on the lower branches. The fungal disease spreads from branch to branch by rain or wind. The first damage is generally on the needles near the tree trunk or lower branches. The disease then moves outward and upward. In some instances, the lower canopies also turn brown.

Heavy rainfall can also escalate the issue.

How To Solve The Blight Issue

Always place the tree shrubs far apart to allow easy passage of the sun and air to prevent needle blight. Also, you can decide to prune out withered branches with the help of a fungicide. Ensure you water the plant minimally to prevent blight from forming.

4. Stressed Leyland Cypress Tree

Is your plant stressed or weak? This might make it susceptible to plant diseases that cause browning. It can easily succumb if your plant is straining to get the right amount of sunlight, air, water, or any necessity. Also, stress is a major issue if the roots haven’t spread well in the surrounding soil.

Thus, you need to water often to prevent it from being waterless. Drought and heat can be major factors.

How To Solve Leyland Cypress Stress

Properly provide the right care to ensure it remains healthy. This is mainly done by growing the plant with a good amount of sunlight and partial shade. Also, provide well-drained soil.

5. Rot

Rooquicklyproblems can easily cause browning of the tree parts. The fungal disease mainly affects newly cut stumps on trees that then transmits to the cypress trees. They also work their way into roots and infect the plant.

The trees then start showing diminishing health and cause the plant to start turning brown.

How To Solve Rot

You need to treat fresh stumps to make them stronger or remove the tree stumps after cutting. There is no specific chemical that can solve this. First, however, you need to ensure proper drainage of the tree.

6. Transplanting And Unfavourable Weather

Interior browning is usual but can be increased by transplanting. This makes the trees to be stressed and even deters their growth. An area’s weather can also cause the cypress tree to be unwell. Weather can easily affect the tree and cause browning if the weather is unstable. The winter season can significantly affect the plants because of the cold atmosphere and rain.

Their shallow root system also makes them weak. If the water-conducting tissue dies, it can also cause a significant issue for the Leyland cypress.

How To Solve This

Ensure you transplant using healthy materials and plant the tree in a good place with fair weather. If not, find suitable species that are sustainable in the area. Also, prune till where there is green coloring matter and remove the destroyed part.

However, if one-third of the tree is affected, it can’t quickly recover.

7. Shedding Of Inner Foliage

The evergreens tend to shed some of the inner foliage over time. If only the inner foliage turns brown, it is normal shedding if the rest of the plant looks fine. The Leyland cypress is a fast grower, and this is what prompts them to shed inner needles to make room for new growth. Due to this natural cause, using fungicides can’t help and may even cause damage.

How To Solve the Shedding of the Inner Foliage

Provide the requirements if it is growing properly. However, you can still consult a professional to be entirely sure.

8. Overwatering

If you’ve just planted your Leyland Cypress and getting excited by the day, you may be tempted to overwater it, especially if you don’t know the basics. And an overwatered Leyland Cypress tree ends up becoming brown because this tree is native to dry and sandy soils. They do not fare well in wet conditions very well.

Allow your Leyland Cypress tree to go deep into the soil to prevent overwatering. This could also help the tree develop a strong root system to tolerate dry conditions. Root rot could also result from overwatering.

If this happens, keep it from spreading by disposing of any rotten root before replanting it in the location it’s best suited for.

9. Nutrient Deficiency

If a Leyland Cypress tree does not get the right balance of nutrients it needs, especially iron, it might turn brown from the inside out. To prevent iron deficiency, regularly fertilize your tree with an iron-rich fertilizer. But be sure not to overdo it because too many nutrients are as harmful as when lacking.

Therefore, follow the manufacturer’s instructions as intended.

Care and Maintenance of the Leyland Cypress To Ensure Full Potential

This fantastic plant species tend to grow three feet or more per year. Thus, it makes ideal as a privacy hedge or lawn tree. For the full potential of the tree, it is essential to growing it in direct sunlight or partial shade where there is well-drained soil. The area shouldn’t be that windy to prevent it from being blown over.

Moreover, plant the tree along the soil line to ensure it is the same height as the surrounding environment. After planting, fill the hole with the same soil removed and ensure you don’t leave any air pockets. During drought, ensure you water them deeply but not excessively.

It also doesn’t require regular fertilization. Also, be cautious not to prune during damp weather as it can easily lead to disease. This allows it to grow up to a height of 50m. Their high tolerance for water makes them an ideal choice for coastal regions.

It also acts as a protection against shorter plants and windbreaks.


You need to take proper care of your Leyland cypress tree. Also, whenever you find disease infestation, take harsh measures. If the case is too severe, you can consult a professional to help you solve the issue. Take care of your trees and plants to ensure they reach their full potential.

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