How to Cut an Italian Cypress Into a Topiary


The Italian cypress is a narrow evergreen that grows in a thin, columnar fashion and can grow up to 60 feet in height. The Italian cypress adds visual interest to any landscape, whether to frame a front door or divide property. Cut into a topiary, the Italian cypress makes a great accent to your patio or porch, grown in the ground or in a pot. They can grow up to three feet per year, but the tops can be cut off when they reach the height you prefer.

Step 1

Tie a string or rope to the very top of your Italian cypress. This will act as your guide and will be removed later.

Step 2

Wrap the string or rope around the tree evenly from the top in a candy cane pattern until you reach the bottom of the tree. Do not wrap too tightly to where the string disappears inside the tree, but allow the string or rope to lay on the outer edges of the tree. Take a step back to be sure it is coiled evenly.

Step 3

Cut into the plant using grass shears, using the string or rope as your guide. Cut deeply all the way to the center of the tree following along the string or rope. Once you have completed cutting, remove the string or rope.

Step 4

Trim the surface of the spiral with your pruning shears to give it a smooth, rounded appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • String or rope
  • Grass shears
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Environmental Horticulture
  • Topiary Arts
Keywords: topiary, italian cypress, landscape design, prune

About this Author

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Karen has worked four years as a professional writer and editor, writing for the online source eHow with articles such as "How to Make Chocolate Chip Biscotti" and "How to Make Marshmallow Fondant," and editing scripts for A Work In Progress, an inspirational radio drama.