The Leyland cypress tree is one of the most popular privacy trees for homeowners. It came about in 1888 by crossing two other cypresses, the Alaska cedar and Monterey cypress.
The result was a large, fast-growing tree that is both disease-resistant and drought-tolerant. The tree grows so quickly that it is often used as a screen to enhance privacy.
The trees can grow up to 50 feet tall and are perfect for creating hedges along driveways, sidewalks, or property lines. Those are enough fun facts about the Leyland cypress tree. How about Leyland cypress wood?
Is Leyland cypress wood good for anything?
In addition to being used in furniture making and cabinetry, Leyland cypress wood is prized for its rot-resistant strength, making it an excellent choice for outdoor uses such as building decks and retaining walls. It is also commonly used in railroad ties and makes great fence posts or poles.
Woodworkers don’t have a hard time working with this type of wood. It has a uniform texture, moderate density, and stains and glues well. Let me take you through 9 more facts about Leyland cypress wood:
Table of Contents
- Is Leyland Cypress Softwood or Hardwood?
- What Grain and Color is Leyland Cypress Wood?
- How Does Leyland Cypress Wood Dry?
- Can You Burn Leyland Cypress Wood?
- How Sustainable is Leyland Cypress Wood?
- How Workable is Leyland Cypress Wood?
- Is Leyland Cypress Wood Rot Resistant?
- Does Leyland Cypress Wood Have an Odor?
- Is Leyland Cypress Wood Toxic?
Is Leyland Cypress Softwood or Hardwood?
Leyland cypress wood is softwood. It’s also lightweight and has a medium-density.
Leyland cypress trees are common from the West Coast to the East Coast. They thrive in zones 6 to 10 in the USDA Plant Hardiness Map.
The density is about 510 kilograms per cubic meter. Leyland cypress is also considered a confer. That and its soft nature place it comfortably among softwood varieties.
What Grain and Color is Leyland Cypress Wood?
The wood of the Leyland cypress usually has a straight grain. On some occasions, small knots might make the grain pattern irregular.
Unlike some other cypress varieties, Leyland cypress has a very light color. The heartwood is pale yellow or reddish-brown. The narrow sapwood is a pale yellow to cream-white.
There’s a significant distinction between the heartwood and the sapwood, so you won’t have a difficult time differentiating them.
The wood’s pale yellowish to red-brown color is similar to that of western red cedar or eastern white pine. Both trees are much softer woods than the Leyland cypress.
How Does Leyland Cypress Wood Dry?
Leyland cypress wood is easy to produce and work. The wood has a low shrinkage rate, so it doesn’t warp or twist much when drying. However, the wood needs to dry properly before you can use it in construction or carpentry. Wet wood can warp.
The most effective way to dry Leyland cypress wood is through air-drying. The process involves stacking the logs on the skids, with stickers between each layer of logs to allow air circulation.
The stack should be kept in a shaded area with adequate ventilation and angled slightly higher at one end to allow water to drain away from the stack.
You can also use a kiln-drying method, which involves placing the logs in a kiln and drying them at high temperatures.
This method takes less time than air-drying but can affect the quality of the wood’s appearance because it can cause discoloration or cracking.
Can You Burn Leyland Cypress Wood?
The wood of Leyland cypress trees is often used in gardening and landscaping, as it makes for great mulch. This means that you may have a stockpile of the wood lying around your backyard after a landscaping project.
Because of this, you may wonder if Leyland cypress wood can be burned as firewood. Fortunately, yes, you can burn Leyland cypress wood.
It makes good firewood, but it is a bit slow to dry out. The wood has a high energy content, and it burns with very little soot.
The wood itself is usually green when freshly cut, and it will have a high moisture content. You should split and stack it so that it dries out thoroughly before using it as firewood.
This may take several months, depending on the thickness of the pieces and how you stack them. However, the end result will be well worth the wait.
How Sustainable is Leyland Cypress Wood?
Leyland cypress is not considered an endangered wood species. The trees are hybrid, with no natural range.
This makes it imperfect for conservation. Luckily, the Leyland cypress species is not on the CITES Appendices or the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Cutting down a Leyland cypress tree does not require any special permits. The best part is that these trees are fast-growing. You can plant a replacement since it’ll grow within no time.
How Workable is Leyland Cypress Wood?
The wood of the Leyland cypress has moderate density and uniform texture. It also stains easily and finishes nicely. This wood works easily with hand and machine tools, though navigating the knots can be challenging.
Additionally, the wood holds nails well. I’d recommend pre-boring for screwing or nailing near ends of boards to prevent splitting. The wood glues satisfactorily, but many woodworkers often find it difficult to steam bend.
The durability of the wood makes it perfect for certain applications such as siding, fencing, and boat building.
The unique cellular structure of cypress also provides excellent insulation properties. Cypress is often used to build cabinets because it accepts paint well and does not require heavy sanding or filling prior to painting.
Is Leyland Cypress Wood Rot Resistant?
Cypress contains natural oils and resins (cypressene). These oils act as a natural preservative to protect against rot and decay. This feature makes it the wood of choice for outdoor projects such as decking, fencing, and siding.
Moreover, you can make gazebos and patio furniture from Leyland cypress wood. It gets better since it’s also an ideal choice for indoor projects. Use the wood for flooring or paneling for doors and trim.
Does Leyland Cypress Wood Have an Odor?
Many people who have come across this wood agree it has a distinct, fragrant scent. I can describe the smell of Leyland cypress wood as fresh, spicy, or citrusy.
The scent of this wood is refreshing. Woodworkers get a whiff of it when working on the wood too.
Is Leyland Cypress Wood Toxic?
More often than not, working on wood is completely harmless. However, that’s not the case with Leyland cypress wood. Leyland cypress causes skin irritation.
When working on this wood, ensure you are properly dressed. Wear clothes that cover your hands and feet.
Aside from that, wear goggles, a mask, and gloves. All these protect you from the wood dust.