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Pruning a cypress

COULD you please advise me regarding Italian cypress trees at least 20 years old and 2m high? Can they be cut down to half, as the exposed side has become very woody?


UNFORTUNATELY, once cypresses become bare and woody it can be difficult to get them to fill in again with new growth. Old woody cypress stems don't produce new shoots again. The best thing to do is prune out the woody ones, cutting them back close to the main trunk. This will leave a hole, but over a long period of time you could try to encourage the remaining green parts of the tree to fill in the gap.

Cut the green parts back over most of the tree once or twice a year to force branching and a neat compact habit, but leave those growing into the bare patch to spread over it. Only cut green shoots back by about half - cutting too much off could create more bare patches.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 169, 2005, Page 28

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: November 3, 2005