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How to Grow Italian Cypress

By Kate Carpenter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Italian cypress-lined driveway

Elegant and stately, reaching a height of 40 to 100 feet when mature, the Italian cypress can be seen gracing the landscapes in USDA zones 7 to 11. Compared with other varieties of cypress trees, the Italian cypress is a thin tree, only having a width of 5 to 10 feet often used as wind buffers and natural screening. Easy to maintain when established, it is drought-tolerant. The care during first three years of growth after planting your Italian cypress are the most important for a healthy tree.

Select a spot in your landscape to plant Italian cypress trees that is sunny. Although your Italian cypress will grow, slowly, in a spot that is in the shade, it is more likely to have problems with fungus diseases and insect infestation. The Italian cypress prefers, and thrives, in sunny environments. Your Italian cypress will not be choosy about the type of soil it grows in, as long as it drains well.

Fertilize your Italian cypress tree when you plant it with a fertilizer that is formulated for trees and has a higher amount of phosphorus, the second number of the formula. Giving your Italian cypress a higher feeding of phosphorus will promote a stronger root system for your tree. Repeat your fertilizer feeding at the beginning of the growing season, early spring, every year for at least the first three years of growing.

Water your Italian cypress tree regularly, usually once a week, to keep the soil moist, particularly for the first year, but do not water log the soil. Deep watering is preferred over frequent, short watering, to make sure the roots are receiving an adequate amount. When your Italian cypress is well established, after three years, it is tolerant of drought conditions and will not need to watered as frequently. If you live where summer rains occur, additional water may not be needed except during dry periods.

Prune off dead branches from your Italian cypress, but be care not to over prune your tree. The more cuts you have on your Italian cypress the more susceptible your tree is to invading insects that will infect your cypress with a deadly sap canker. This canker fungus has killed many Italian cypress, so the less you prune or cut your tree, the less likely your tree is to become infected.

Check you Italian cypress tree for pests, particularly for spider mites and bagworms, every two to three months. If you discover either of these two pests, or any other pest, apply insecticide that is formulated to control these pests. Follow the instructions on the label.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer formulated to have higher phosphorus
  • Pruners
  • Insecticide