Leyland Cypress Vs Thuja Green Giant For Privacy Screens
Leyland Cypress and Thuja Green Giant are the most popular privacy screen trees because they are the two fastest growing evergreen trees, are inexpensive compared to other evergreens, and also they do not shed lots of needles like Pine trees do. The fast growing attribute translates into less expensive purchase price. You will likely pay less for a 12 foot Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant than a Norway Spruce because they did not need to cared for as long in the growers care. Both varieties can grow three feet per year if fertilized properly.
One of advantages of Thuja Green Giant trees is deer resistance. While deer don’t eat Thuja Green Giant, they really don’t like Leyland Cypress that much either. All the locations we grow Leylands we also grow Green Giants, deer are very plentiful and never eat any of them. There are woods and fields nearby, it is urban deer with no other food that eat these trees. They typically only damage smaller trees anyway, 6 foot tall and smaller. Another advantage of Thuja Green Giant over Leyland Cypress is Green Giants are cold hardy through hardiness zone 5, which includes mainland NY state, Maine, Northern CT, Mass, etc. Leylands are safe through hardiness zone 6, all of Long Island, southern Mass, CT, etc.
There are many websites available where you can enter your zip-code and find your hardiness zone. If you see Leylands growing in your area, that is obviously the answer that they do well in your area. One tip is if you are on the northern border of any evergreen tree’s growing range, it is more important that you plant in spring because the first winter should find them partially established, or rooted. We recommend if you are north of Virginia, not to plant Leyland Cypress trees after October 15th. Almost every year, we ship a load or two after that date to Long Island and they have good success but do not plant into November and also you can expect some wind-burn on Leyland Cypress trees planted in late fall. This is usually not a big problem, the following spring I like to trim off the outer 2″ if that is how much has browned, apply slow release fertilizer around April 1, and they will push out new growth and be fine. Winter burn is not about greenery that froze to become brown, it is due to the tree not being able to send enough moisture to support the greenery during winter when the ground was frozen, leaving the outer edge of the greenery brown.
I disagree with an opinion a few have that Thuja Green Giant are much less susceptible to insects and diseases. Where I have Leylands and Green Giants growing side by side, I see that Bagworms are attracted to both trees. It is true that Leyland Cypress can develop a disease called Seiridium Canker, that does not seem to attack Thuja Green Giant, whenever I have heard of Seiridium Canker it only attacked extremely stressed Leyland Cypress trees, for example by planting way to close together and not topping them at the recommended height based on spacing. Since Bagworms can be attacked to both varieties, and the Leyland Cypress diseases attacks trees in extreme stress, my opinion is if Leyland Cypress are planted properly, with normal after planting care, both are excellent privacy screen trees if in zone 6 where both thrive.