How to Care for an Italian Cypress Tree

Overview

Italian cypress trees, Cupressus sempervirens, are a low maintenance and tall growing evergreen that reaches a height up to 40 feet and spread out to 6 feet. The tree produces a narrow, column shape that requires little pruning to maintain. The Italian cypress is native to western Asia and southern Europe and hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 8 through 10. The tree is fast growing and useful in the home landscape as a privacy hedge.

Step 1

Select a planting location for the Italian cypress tree that has a nutrient-rich and well-draining soil. The area should receive at least six hours of full sunlight each day. Set the tree in a hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the container it came in.

Step 2

Provide supplemental water to the Italian cypress tree when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. Italian cypress is drought tolerant but produces better when provided with adequate moisture. Do not overwater or create standing water around the stem as this will promote root rot.

Step 3

Fertilize Italian cypress trees with a high phosphorous fertilizer at the time of planting to stimulate root growth. Established Italian cypress trees do not require fertilizer for growth.

Step 4

Apply a layer of mulch around the Italian cypress trees to limit weed growth and assist with moisture retention. Leave a 6-inch gap between the start of the mulch and stem of the tree.

Step 5

Prune Italian cypress trees during the dormant season to maintain a columnar appearance. The trees do not require pruning to train branch growth.

Step 6

Monitor Italian cypress trees for the presence of mites as they are a common problem. Mites are difficult to see but attack the interior foliage to create a red-brown colored damage on the leaves. Apply an insecticide to eliminate the insects.

Step 7

Propagate Italian cypress trees by taking hardwood stem cuttings in the fall. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and stick them in a tray filled with moist rooting medium. Grow the cuttings in a warm area with indirect sunlight until the roots are 1 inch in length.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Phosphorus fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Tree pruning clipper
  • Insecticide
  • Rooting hormone
  • Rooting tray
  • Rooting medium

References

  • University of Florida: Cupressus sempervirens
  • FloriData: Cupressus sempervirens
  • Backyard Gardener: Cupressus sempervirens
Keywords: grow Italian cypress, Italian cypress care, plant Italian cypress

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.