The cypress is certainly one of the kings of the conifers to establish elegant hedges, but it is also remarkable as a standalone specimen.
Simple Cypress facts
Name – Cupressus
Family – Cupressaceae
Type – conifer
Height – 16 to 60 feet (5 to 18 m)
Climate – temperate to warm
Exposure – full sun to shade
Soil – ordinary, well drained
Foliage – evergreen
The planting, pruning and caring for this tree are essential steps that will guarantee proper development and help avoid that the plant fall sick.
- Read also: the Leyland cypress, king of all hedges
Planting Mediterranean cypress
Cypress is usually planted as part of a hedge, and is usually set up from the beginning of fall, but it can also be planted until the month of March-April as long as it doesn’t freeze.
If you plant it before winter, protect the roots from the cold by spreading mulch at the foot of the conifer.
If you plant it in spring, you can also proceed to do the same in order to avoid having weeds crowd it out from below.
- In both cases, maritime pine bark mulch is the most perfectly suited, but any other mulch will also play the part fine.
- It can cope with acidic mulch such as used coffee grounds, too.
If your cypress is never pruned, it can grow to reach nearly 65 feet (20 meters) and its bearing will be a distinctive, thin cone.
For hedges, select the pruning height you are comfortable with as well as the thickness.
- Prune your cypress preferably at the end of summer or at the beginning of spring.
- Feel free to prune severely because cypress tends to grow very, very fast.
A heavy pruning end of August is enough to keep this growth under control. That is also the season where sap descends and so it will slow the cypress’s growth a bit.
Spring pruning is usually with rising sap and tends to accelerate the tree’s growth, so this is ideal if you aim to hide yourself from prying neighbor’s view.
Diseases and parasites that Mediterranean cypress is subject to
- Diseases are rare, but the occasional cypress canker can be observed.
Branches turn brown and die.
- Be careful! This disease can lead to the entire hedge dying off.
Learn more about Mediterranean cypress
They are also very resilient in the face of disease and pollution.
From an aesthetic point of view, it is magnificent when planted as a standalone, or even better, to line a long driveway where each cypress is planted at a distance of 13 to 17 feet (4 to 5 m) from the next.
Mediterranean cypress wood is very dense and this makes it a favorite for furniture makers.
Since it is virtually rot-proof, it has an extremely high resistance to water and moisture, which is why is has long been used for ship-building.
Lastly, cypress essential oil extracted from the tree, specifically sprigs of the tree, is used for its benefits on vein and lymph circulation.
Smart tip about cypress
In a hedge, think well about how high you want it to grow so that you can determine the planting distance of your cypresses accordingly! Keep a spacing of about 32 inches (80 cm) to 3 feet (1 meter) for the usual 6-foot (1.80 m) hedge.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Cypress alley by FJPreuss under Pixabay license
Cypress pruned to shapes by Edmund Hochmuth under Pixabay license
Potted cypress by Lena Svensson under Pixabay license
Cypress cones by Bärbel under Pixabay license