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How to Care for Cypress Trees

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cypress trees are popular landscape plants for their beauty and hardiness. These long-living and fast-growing trees, some of which can grow up to 3 feet per year, are resistant to many pests. The cypress trees most commonly used for landscape design are the leyland cypresses, which feature graceful, feathery evergreen needles and are often used as hedges or grown as Christmas trees. Other popular cypress species include the majestic bald cypress, which is commonly found in marshy areas of the southern United States, and the pond cypress. Regardless of species, all cypress trees have the same basic care needs.

Plant your cypress tree in full sun or in a location that has light shade. Do not plant your tree in any area that has deep, dark shade.

Choose a location that has moist, slightly acidic soil. A pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. is ideal. Use a soil-testing kit to determine the level of acid in your soil. Many cypress trees growing in the wild grow in soil that is rich in peat moss. If your soil is not acidic enough, amend it by mixing in some peat moss to a depth of 12 inches.

Water your cypress tree enough so that the soil remains moist. For many hot climates, this may mean you have to water it by hand twice a week. In rainy climates, the tree will not need nearly as much watering.

Prune the cypress tree during the dry season. This will prevent fungal diseases that may attach to pruning tools from infecting the tree through a pruning wound. The trees grow so quickly that the branches can become very dense and block sunlight to other parts of the tree. For this reason, you should prune to thin out the branches. Although cypress trees naturally grow in a pyramid shape, many homeowners keep them short by pruning off the top, especially if the trees form a privacy hedge. Prune off any dead or diseased branches as well.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Watering tool
  • Pruning tools
  • Balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) (optional)

Tips

  • While cypress trees will thrive in very wet soil, it is not necessary to plant them right next to a water source. The seed needs to be immersed in water to germinate, but young trees do not have the same extreme water requirements.
  • Cypress trees are so hardy that they generally do not need any fertilizing, but the application of a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in the spring will encourage young trees to develop strong root systems.