Cypress is a genus of trees and shrubs known botanically as Cupressus that, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, encompasses 14 species and 22 cultivars. Cypress are slow growing evergreen conifers and require very little pruning save the removal of damage, dead branching and foliage or to control shape and size when they interfere with structures, power lines or other dangerous situations. Cypress species tend to have a distinct canopy shape; unnecessary pruning alters the natural form that is often difficult or slow to be fully restored, so any pruning should be judicious.
Prune your cypress trees in the spring or early fall, bypassing the heat of summer and cold temperatures and frost of winter and reducing stress on the trees. Place all cuts just outside the branch collar and when removing damaged wood, cut back to the point of healthy tissue.
Cut away dead, damaged or diseased branches and twigs throughout the canopy, including any branches that cross and abrade one another.
Remove the lowest branches on the trunk if they look ratty, diseased or have become defoliated because of lack of sunlight. Raising the height of the lowest branches can also create a more distinct traditional or topiary tree shape.