italian cypress trees - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA (Zone 10)
Question by harascik
April 25, 2007
I have a row of Italian cyprees tree about 25 feet high and about 10 years old. The are sturdy and I fertilize them about twice a year. Recently I noticed the vertical upright branches are beginning to bend over, away from the trunk and droop. Can you help?


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Answer from NGA
April 25, 2007

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Drooping limbs on Italian cypress is usually caused by over fertilization, over watering or both. What's happening is that an ample supply of water and nutrients results in excessive growth. Deep watering once a week in midsummer would be excessive unless it was growing on a very sandy soil. Watering deep, during the winter, more than once a month would also be excessive. One fertilization in the spring is adequate.

Limbs that are drooping can be removed from inside the tree's silhouette. Take a drooping limb and follow it back inside the tree's canopy. Make a pruning cut inside the canopy at a side branch that does not droop outside the canopy area.
The other option you have is to tie the drooping branches to the rest of the canopy so that the branches no longer droop. The problem is that the weak branches aren't corrected. The drooping branches are only supported and will droop again once the ties have been removed.

Shearing the plant is sometimes done to remove all excessive growth. This will help, but it imposes a continuous and time-consuming maintenance routine. The best solution is to manage the water and fertilizer schedules.

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