Cypress trees are not for small properties. The trees need room to grow tall and spread wide. Cypress trees belong to a large family and not all cypress are trees. Many are-low growing shrubs. For those who have the space to grow a large tree, the cypress is a variety with few problems and it can be found growing in most parts of the country.
Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) is the state tree of Louisiana. The tree starts out with a pyramid shape and develops a broad, open crown at maturity. Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica) develops a more open crown than the other cypress and related trees. Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) is an evergreen cypress with a dense, oval shape.
Baldcypress grows up to 150 feet tall over time. The tree will be 40 to 50 feet tall when it is between 15 and 25 years old. Arizona cypress grows from 30 to 40 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Leyland cypress measures 35 to 50 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide.
The baldcypress produces pale green leaves up to 2 inches long that resemble the needles of a pine tree. The leaves are deciduous and turn a red-copper color in the fall. Brown flowers bloom in the spring and are followed by hard, oval-shaped fruits 1 to 3 inches long. The scale-like, green/silver leaves of the Arizona cypress grow up to 2 inches long. Yellow flowers bloom in the spring and are followed by hard, brown fruits up to 1 inch long. Leyland cypress produces blue or blue-green scale-like leaves up to 2 inches long and tiny, brown fruits.
The baldcypress is native to North America and grows in wetlands. The tree thrives in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 through 10. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Arizona cypress is also native to North America and hardy in zones 7 to 9. Plant in full sun and a well-drained soil. The tree likes a dry climate. Leyland cypress grows in full sun or partial shade and is hardy in zones 6 through 10A. Soil should be well-drained. The tree is drought tolerant.
The seeds of the baldcypress are eaten by birds and squirrels. Use the tree for shade, a street tree or a privacy screen. Use Arizona cypressd as a specimen tree or a windbreak. Leyland cypress is used as a Christmas tree, for privacy screens and as a specimen plant.
Baldcypress is subject to infestations from bagworms and mites. Twig blight also causes problems. Arizona cypress is susceptible to limb breakage, bagworms and juniper blight. Bagworn can quickly defoliate the Leyland cypress. Canker is a problem after a drought in the west and the leaves are subject to a fungus.