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?
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.
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.