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Murray and Leyland Cypress Plant Recovery from Winter Cold Damage

In our tree nursery business we observed two distinct types of cold damage to Murray and Leyland Cypress Trees.

  1. Long term cold temperature typical in Zone 5 and colder in which the ground remains frozen for several weeks in the top 10-12” inches occupied by the Murray and Leyland Cypress roots. Thereby the trees are unable to absorb water and in essence dry out from lack of water
  2. Extreme temperature variation in a short time damages the cell walls of the cypress. Such an event occurred on December 28th 2022 in the Southeast and South, between the Northern Florida - Texas - Tennessee region. The 80 degree  Fahrenheit temperature drop within 12 hours has killed and severely damaged most Cypress trees in the region.

If the damage is caused by extreme temperature variation, the trees may recover by late Spring. It often makes sense to prune off the dead branches, fertilize and water the trees.

Leyland Cypress fully recovered by 7/30/23, dead branches pruned away, all green shoots are new growth since May 2023. The tree appeared completely dead after 12/28/22.

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