Browning in Conifers

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Italian Cypress Do Not Belong In Atlanta

For some years now we have seen an increase in the numbers of Italian Cypress planted in Atlanta landscapes. Italian cypress is native to the eastern Mediterranean! It is well adapted to mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers in well drained soil! We normally do not have mild rainy winters. Our summers usually include intermittent rainfall. Most importantly, our clay soil is not well drained which leads to root rot and plant deterioration. In our landscapes, mainly due to the root issues, the plants are more susceptible to foliar and stem diseases, spider mites and insects.

The Italian Cypress is used in the landscape because of its tight, upright growth. Just because a plant or tree can be purchased does not mean it will grow in our area. This plant in reality is rarely as aesthetically pleasing in Atlanta as it was on your Mediterranean vacation!

Leyland cypress

All trees, including Leyland Cypress, require at least 5 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter applied one time per week. This means if you have a 6” diameter trunk on your tree, the tree needs 30 gallons of water applied one time per week.

If you have a drip system with emitters then you should have 4 emitters per tree (one at the 12, 3 6, and 9 position) for uniform watering. Have your irrigation specialist tell you how much water the four emitters apply per hour so that you can determine how long to water to obtain the proper amount per watering.

If you use soaker hoses, make a 3′-4′ loop around the base of each tree. Since soaker hoses are difficult to calibrate, water until you have moistened the soil to a depth of 6”-8” one time per week.

Above 90 degrees you may have to add a second day of watering to maintain the soil moisture at the 6”-8” depth.

When Leylands begin to stress, the Seiridium canker begins to infect the trees. Once the trees have Seiridium canker then they will eventually die. By simply keeping the trees water you can greatly decrease the development of the canker disease.  Click here for a Prestige Info Sheet on this issue.


This plant really has few pest issues but is susceptible to drought and poor irrigation problems. Click here for more information!

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