How Do I Care for Italian Cypress?

Overview

The Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a columnar-shaped tree that can reach 70 feet in height, but usually reaches about 30 to 40 feet tall and no more than 10 feet wide. Native to southern Europe and western Asia, the Italian cypress is an evergreen conifer with fragrant, dark-green, needle-like foliage and horizontal branches. The Italian cypress grows best in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9, where winter temperatures don't drop below 5 degrees Fahrenheit. You should plant your Italian cypress in full sunlight where it has some shelter from cold winter winds.

Step 1

Water your Italian cypress once or twice per week throughout the growing season in the absence of rainfall to moisten the soil down to and around the roots. Reduce watering frequency in the winter, watering only during prolonged dry spells so that the root ball doesn't dry out.

Step 2

Feed your Italian cypress once each year in early spring with a slow-release, all-purpose tree fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 NPK formula. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Step 3

Prune your Italian cypress once per year in late winter to remove any dead, diseased, tangled or crossing branches. Regular pruning to shape the tree isn't necessary.

Step 4

Spread a fresh 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of your Italian cypress tree once every year in early spring. Keep the mulch about 1 to 2 inches away from the root collar.

Step 5

Treat your Italian cypress for spider mites year-round by applying an appropriate miticide whenever you detect the insects. Apply an appropriate insecticide to your Italian cypress in late spring through midsummer to get rid of bagworms. Always follow the directions on the pesticide label exactly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't allow the soil to dry out around your Italian cypress, especially during the spring and summer growing season. Also, don't over-water your Italian cypress. Ensure that the water drains freely and the soil doesn't become waterlogged.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • All-purpose tree fertilizer, slow release
  • Pruning tools
  • Organic mulch
  • Pesticides (optional)
  • Fungicides (optional)

References

  • Terrace Gardener: Care Tips & More About Italian Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
  • Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories: Plant Health Care Recommendations for Italian Cypress

Who Can Help

  • BackyardGardener.com: Cupressus sempervirens (Italian Cypress)
Keywords: Italian cypress care, Italian cypress tree, grow Cupressus sempervirens

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.