Chamaecyparis, the Lawson false cypress

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Chamaecyparis is a very beautiful conifer that looks very ornamental, often called the Lawson cypress, Port Orford cedar or false cypress.

Chamaecyparis key facts

NameChamaecyparis lawsoniana
Family – Cupressaceae
Type – conifer

 – 6½ to 65 feet (2 to 20 m)
Exposure – full sun

Soil: ordinary  –  Foliage: evergreen

It is used as an ornamental cypress tree or as part of a conifer hedge.

Planting Chamaecyparis

How to plant chamaecyparisIt is preferable to plant it in fall in order to support root development, but you can also plant it until spring, on non-freezing days.

  • Chamaecyparis loves high sun exposure and tolerates part sun.
  • The ground must drain well over a great depth.
  • Refer to our guidelines on planting shrubs.

Pruning and caring for Chamaecyparis

Detail of Chamaecyparis pruningYou may equalize the tree 1 or 2 times if needed. Clean it up at the end of winter.

Chamaecyparis stands pruning very well, which makes it possible to shape it as you wish, and to prune it as often as you care to in order to keep its shape.

Watering Chamaecyparis

Water regularly during the first 2 years after planting, if it doesn’t rain of course.

After that, it will only need to be watered in case of extended dry spell or strong heat.

Over the first few seasons, you can amend the soil with conifer-specific fertilizer in order to spur proper growth.

Learn more about Chamaecyparis

Chamaecyparis in potChamaecyparis lawsoniana is a genus of the Cupressaceae family and is still a close cousin to the cypress, sharing its distinctive shape and leaves.

It holds out well to the cold and to freezing, which makes it a hardy conifer for all regions.

It grows in many different shapes and colors, which makes it also a magnificent ornamental tree.

It’s name “Lawson” was attributed in reference to the famous Scottish botanist, not because he was the person who discovered it, but because Murray, another botanist, named the tree in his honor.

Diseases and parasites infecting Chamaecyparis

Red branch on chamaecyparisIf you notice that some of the branches of your Chamaecyparis start turning brown and drying off, and that it tends to spread, it is most certainly due to canker and must be speedily treated.

Smart tip about Chamaecyparis

A supportive practice is to spread mulch, for instance maritime pine bark, at the base of the tree.

Images: CC BY 2.0: S. Rae, CC BY-SA 2.0: F. D. Richards, F. D. Richards, Ting Chen; shutterstock: Best Photo Studio