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Italian Cypress Trees

Do you want evergreen color in your yard but have a narrow lot space? Italian Cypress trees are perfect for you. These trees are hardy in USDA zones 7-11. Their columnar, spire-like form is unmistakable in the landscape. When used properly, these plants can form a dramatic entrance, serve as “living columns” outside the front door, or grow into a tall, narrow hedge quickly.

Planting Italian Cypress Trees

The number one distinguishing characteristic of Italian Cypress trees is their tall columnar form. They look like living roman columns (hence their name!). If you plant these in the middle of your yard, they’ll look strange. When used the right way, though, they add a dramatic flair to any landscape and garden. The tight, upright growth habit of these trees adds a naturally formal look to any yard and garden where they’re planted. Here are some excellent uses for Italian Cypress Trees

  • Privacy on a narrow lot line. These trees grow to a mature height of 40 feet, but their mature width is only 5 feet, and that is after several years. Plant a row of these trees spaced five to eight feet apart between your house and the house next door for a “skinny screen.”
  • Highlighting an entrance. Plant one Italian Cypress on each side of your driveway entrance or front home entrance. (These trees are narrow enough to plant right next to the house in foundation planting beds.)
  • Living fence. Plant a row of Italian Cypress trees as a hedge or fence along your lot line, even if you have plenty of space. This will give you the same privacy as a tall privacy fence, but is less intrusive and harsh to the eye.

Italian Cypress trees are drought tolerant and like to be on the dry side, so choose a location with full to partial sun in well-drained soil. (At the bottom of a drainage ditch is not a good place for these trees.) Dig a hole that is just as deep but twice as wide as the rootball of the plant. Place the plant in the hole to check the depth. If the soil of the rootball is below the level of the soil of the surrounding ground, pick up the tree and add more soil to the hole. Fill in the hole with the same soil you removed. Then water the tree by counting to 20 or by giving it five full watering cans full of water. Water your newly-planted tree twice a week for the first month, once a week for the next two months, and every two weeks after the first three months.

Caring for Italian Cypress Trees

The Italian Cypress is an “easy growing” tree that needs little intervention once it’s been in the ground for six months. You can cut off the top of the tree if you want a bushier look, but overall, this tree is picked for its tall column-like shape, so it looks best if you leave your pruning shears in the garden shed.

This tree isn’t fussy about soil. It grows equally well in clay, loam, or sandy soils. It also does not need routine fertilizing. Water your Italian Cypress if you have warm, dry, and windy weather during the winter in your area. It can dry out.

Mites become a problem if the tree dries out too much. Use insecticidal soap on a day when the temperature is forecast to be below 70 degrees to spray the mites. You can also help the tree by giving it extra water during dry weather periods. Occasionally, bagworms are a problem. The best way to take care of this pest is to pick off the bags. (They look like cocoons.)

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