Question about Leyland growth

Had some leylands planted last year which went into shock pretty much right away. We lost alot of the growth at the lower part of the tree. We also lost some more growth this year due to what I hope is just a lack of water issue. My question is...what happens to all that growth that was lost at the bottom of the tree? We cut off all the dead branches and now it's pretty bare at the bottom....do new branches or leaves grow back? Or is this the way the trees are going to stay now?
Also...if in fact I did have a lack of water issue (still not sure)....what signs can I look for that it's working or not? And how long until I notice some kind of improvement? (the green was slowly turning brown). Do those 1/2 brown leaves now become green again or do they continue to just die off?
Sorry for all the questions...obviously very new to this.
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There have been a few posts on Leylands over the last week or so (by me). I bought 24 at Home Depot last year, and took 18 of them back this weekend. Depending on where you are, they seem to be very disease prone. Mine succumbed to some sort of needle blight, and they never came back.
Sorry to hear about your plants.

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