The Q&A Archives: Trees

Question: I need info on L(?)Cypress . How to take care of it in phx,az.

Answer: Leyland Cypress trees won't grow well in the Phoenix area - it's too hot and dry - but Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) is native to the southwest. It is a medium sized tree 50 to 60 feet tall and 15 to 30 inches in diameter. It is evergreen, with a dense, upright, cone-shaped crown and smooth reddish-brown bark that sometimes becomes fibrous with flat ridges. Leaves are scale-like and grayish-green, bluish-green, or silvery, arranged opposite in pairs and tightly clasping the cord-like or four-sided twigs; they emit a fetid odor when crushed. The cones are 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, somewhat round, dark reddish brown, with 6 to 8 shield-shaped woody scales. The cones mature in autumn of the second season but persist on the tree for many years.

It is found naturally on dry, sterile, rocky mountain slopes and canyon walls, but does very well when planted on better soils or when irrigated. It requires a minimum of 10 to 12 inches of water annually. It is not recommended for elevations of over 3,000 feet nor is it recommended for soils with a high water table. It requires full sunlight for best development, but is subject to sunscald when grown as an ornamental. Though it grows slowly under natural dry conditions, it is a rapid grower (up to 3 feet per year) on better soils with a good moisture regime.

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