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Cupressus - Growing Guide

Cupressus - Growing Guide

Cypress

There are around 15 species of coniferous cypress of which Burncoose stocks only a few with quite varied uses, applications and hardiness in the garden.

Cupressus macrocarpa is a huge growing (100ft) Californian species which is one of the great stalwart trees in coastal locations. It is extremely tolerant of salt laden gales and has grown in the very teeth of the wind in near sand at Porthluney Cove and in so many other south coast maritime villages and towns. Branches will split and fall in gales from mature trees but the foliage will not brown off like so many other conifers. The leaves are lemon scented and larger trees will produce a plethora of rounded cones which can be gathered and ripened over winter for sowing in the spring. They germinate easily.

C. macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’ is a narrowly conical tree grown for its golden yellow foliage as a feature plant where it can be seen especially in winter. This is however a small tree in comparison to C. macrocarpa itself and can get burnt by the salt winds. It grows only to around 15ft.

C. cashmeriana is a gorgeous tree but it is only half hardy in the UK and needs to be grown outside only in extreme shelter. Otherwise it is an architectural or ornamental plant for larger greenhouses. The Kashmir cypress has red-brown bark and wonderful trailing pendant sprays of blue growth. The appearance of the tree is that of a blue cascade. You will find established trees of this species growing into maturity in sheltered spots in arboretums and public gardens. At times these trees may look sickly. Hardiness may depend on the altitude from which the original wild collected seed was gathered. The higher the better!

C. sempervirens, Italian cypress, and the form we offer, ‘Stricta’, is a different kettle of fish to the other two species. This is a narrowly conical conifer which only grows up to around 10ft in height. It is used for its formality in structured and architectural gardens and therefore much loved by landscape architects in formal settings. Odd branches can tend to flop out of the trees, ruining the pencil effect, so it pays to wire up the foliage with thin wire after planting so that it keeps its shape while it is becoming established.
 


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