How to grow Cypress
Cypress is a plant that belongs to a genus (Cupressus L., 1753) of the Cupressaceae family, including trees of considerable size, up to 50 meters tall, with generally tapered, very branched pyramidal foliage, and cylindrical twigs with numerous leaves.
Among the main species of cypresses we mention:
– Cupressus atlantica, the cypress of Morocco;
– Cupressus cashmeriana, the cypress of Bhutan;
– Cupressus dupreziana, the cypress of the Sahara;
– Cupressus sempervirens, the Mediterranean cypress, common in Italy in the cultivated and sub-spontaneous state;
– Cupressus arizonica, the Arizona cypress;
– Cupressus macrocarpa, the Monterey cypress, native to California and widely used as an ornamental plant also with its Goldcrest variety;
also worth mentioning is the hybrid × Cupressocyparis leylandii, which is an intergeneric hybrid between Cupressus and Chamaecyparis used as an ornamental plant.
In this card we will see how to grow cypress, following the agronomic tricks and the most useful techniques. Cypress is a perfect plant both as single or in rows and can delimit avenues or windbreak hedges. The cultural references, although similar with the various species, will be made for the Cupressus sempervirens which is the most suitable species to be cultivated in Italy.
Let us say immediately that the cultivation of Cypress is not at all complicated.
In areas with a mild climate, the best month to plant conifers, in particular the cypress, is November. Only in the case of very cold areas, it is preferable to postpone the operation to spring.
The cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is an evergreen species, very long-lived (it lives over a hundred years). Its slender columnar appearance makes it a unique plant, which can also be admired from afar: the upright branches form a compact crown, which can reach heights of over 30 meters.
Cypresses are plants readily available in nurseries. Before buying it, make sure there are no dead or damaged branches, that it has a compact structure and a bright color. It is always better to buy potted plants, rather than bare-rooted plants, equipped with a root system developed in better conditions.
Once you have chosen the plant with these characteristics, you will need to place it in the most suitable place.
The position must be very sunny, since the cypress needs heat (it supports temperatures close to 45 ° C), while also supporting low temperatures (even below zero for short periods), but not in the first years of life when it is more delicate . It must be considered that the cypress does not tolerate the movements: for this reason it is good to choose carefully the position in which to place it, to avoid having to move it later, an operation that would surely make it suffer a lot.
In choosing the type of soil instead the cypress is more versatile. The plant is content with poor soils, even calcareous and clayey, but better if well-drained, without water stagnation that can cause radical asphyxia and the development of fungal diseases with consequent rottenness.
In case it is abiding in an excessively dry soil, it may need to be irrigated only in the hottest and dryest periods of the year, although usually, especially once grown, it is satisfied with environmental humidity and rain.
Before planting a cypress it is necessary to dig the plant hole. Normally, for a plant of about 2 meters in height, it will be necessary to dig a hole about 50-60 cm deep and as wide as possible. On the bottom of the hole it is advisable to distribute a layer of a few centimeters of manure mixed with universal soil, so as to fertilize the soil in which the plant will lodge and help it to take root and develop in the first period. To promote drainage, in more compact soils, it is advisable to place a little gravel on and mixed with this first layer.
At this point the plant is placed in the center of the hole, in a vertical position, being careful to keep it straight, and the remaining spaces are filled around the plant, with universal soil, until the hole is filled. The ground around the collar is well pressed, with the feet. So you irrigate, so that you settle well. To promote water absorption, even in future irrigations, it is good to create a shallow basin around the plant’s collar.
Another important trick, which will prove useful, in the first two – three years, is that after planting, to fix the plant with 3 or 4 rods tied to the trunk (at about half height) and fixed to the ground with pegs; at the anchor point of the tie rods around the trunk it is good to protect this with cloth and cardboard sleeves to prevent the tie from cutting into the trunk. Once planted, the cypress requires little care; in fact, it is a very resistant plant with very low maintenance that can give many satisfactions for many years.
If you want to subsequently propagate the cypress plants directly on your garden, you can start from seed in the spring period. In this case, however, growth occurs very slowly. The one used for cutting is more used.
In the pruning technique it is not necessary to intervene with particular precautions but simply by eliminating the damaged and withered sections and branches.
The fertilization undoubtedly represents an indispensable operation to guarantee the correct growth to all the plants. Regarding in Cypress, in particular, even if it is a plant that over time assumes considerable dimensions and very deep roots, it is necessary to proceed to the burial of a good quantity of organic fertilizer right in the immediate vicinity of the shaft of the tree, to end that all the nutrients are gradually absorbed by the plant. This operation must be carried out in the autumn season and, even better, at the end of the winter one, with mature manure or well humified organic substance. After the burial, you will not need to worry anymore as the absorption will be favored by each subsequent watering and will be fully able to provide Cipresso with all the elements necessary for its correct development.
As for diseases and phytosanitary aspects, let us remember that Cypress is a tree that lives peacefully in many areas throughout the world. In fact, it is highly resistant to cold but not excessive temperatures that can irreparably damage the tree. Even excessive winds should be avoided if possible. If too cold, in fact, they can lead to a considerable weakening of the plant that can even reach death.
Moreover the Cypress is subject to diseases and parasites very rarely. Sometimes, among its branches, aphids can nestle, especially when the plant is younger or if, mistakenly, you have used fertilizers based on nitric nitrogen. The root rot, on the other hand, is more common, caused by an excessive intake of water, which is resolved by reducing water supplies or improving (during the planting phase) the drainage of the soil.