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Pruning/Training Italian Cypress Trees

Jk_welshJk_welsh Posts: 15
Hi Folks,

I’ve recently planted a number of Italian Cypress trees (Cupressus Sempervirens) in my garden.  They are all similar height (1.2m) and healthy.  I would estimate them to be about 4 years old from their height, and purchased from a plant nursery.

My question is how do I get them to maintain the classic pencil shape as they grow?

Most of them are fine, but l have a few that are looking a bit more “wild” when it comes to their shape, especially lower down.  Pictures below for reference.

Do I simply cut off any wild branches back to the trunk, or just shorten them to keep them in line?  Or should I leave alone and train them to grow straight up using twine to pull them in?

Also if pruning back, can this be done at anytime?

Thanks,
John.




Posts

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
    Er,  you do realise that their ultimate height is 30 metres with a spread of about 5 metres?! Therefore it needs to be planted 2.5m from a fence and be given lots of room to grow. Even at that distance, it’s roots will invade the neighbour’s garden and suck all life and moisture from the ground. I think you would be better planting something more compact and better behaved!

    The traditional method of training is to wire them in, spiralling the wire/sturdy cord around the outside, starting from the bottom and getting tighter as you reach the top.
  • Jk_welshJk_welsh Posts: 15
    Nollie said:
    Er,  you do realise that their ultimate height is 30 metres with a spread of about 5 metres?! Therefore it needs to be planted 2.5m from a fence and be given lots of room to grow. Even at that distance, it’s roots will invade the neighbour’s garden and suck all life and moisture from the ground. I think you would be better planting something more compact and better behaved!

    The traditional method of training is to wire them in, spiralling the wire/sturdy cord around the outside, starting from the bottom and getting tighter as you reach the top.
    Are we talking about the same tree?

    According to the nursery I purchased from, the roots are not invasive and will pretty much go straight down with little spread.

    Im aware that they have the capability to grow tall, but I’ll be dead and buried before these reach anywhere near 30m, and will probably top them well before they reach that kind of height anyway.

    Spiral wiring sounds interesting, but won’t that cause damage to the branches?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,356
    Jk_welsh said:
    Nollie said:
    Er,  you do realise that their ultimate height is 30 metres with a spread of about 5 metres?! Therefore it needs to be planted 2.5m from a fence and be given lots of room to grow. Even at that distance, it’s roots will invade the neighbour’s garden and suck all life and moisture from the ground. I think you would be better planting something more compact and better behaved!

    .............
    Are we talking about the same tree?

    According to the nursery I purchased from, the roots are not invasive and will pretty much go straight down with little spread.

    Im aware that they have the capability to grow tall, but I’ll be dead and buried before these reach anywhere near 30m, and will probably top them well before they reach that kind of height anyway.

    ............



    How quickly do you plan on going .... Italian cypress are fast-growing trees ... 3ft or so a year.

    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/italian-cypress/growing-italian-cypress-trees.htm

    and whoever told you that their roots go straight down shouldn't be working in a tree nursery  :/
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Jk_welshJk_welsh Posts: 15
    Ok, so maybe not the best choice for a residential garden then, but I like their shape and they are planted now  :s

    I don’t plan on letting them grow to 30 meters, so will keep them trimmed accordingly.

    Back to the question of training them to keep their shape, is wiring them the best option?


  • Here's my wonky trees! Five years from planting (it was a v windy day when the pic was taken). In hindsight they should have been staked from the start and the trunks  protected with spirals as they have suffered from wind rock and rabbits- every day's a school day! Will these benefit from the previous advice?
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
    Yes we are talking about the same tree. If you keep hacking off the top, the trunk and lower growth will still get wider than that space will accommodate, the back growth will be squished against the fence and it will be difficult to maintain the elegant lollipop shape. OK it will probably be slower growing in the UK, but I still think you are making like difficult and be better planting a smaller columnar conifer to achieve a similar look without the hassle, but your garden, your choice!

  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Makes you wonder why you'd ask for advice when you're not interested in acting on it because it's not what you want to hear...and planting through a membrane is such a horrible practice. The weeds will seed on the surface anyway...and you're just making the soil poorer long term by largely cutting off the ground from the elements.

    You have the chance to save yourself a lot of headache in the near future by admitting in planting the wrong plant in the wrong place. Sooner or later reality will sink in. It's your choice if you want to hear. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Jk_welshJk_welsh Posts: 15
    Makes you wonder why you'd ask for advice when you're not interested in acting on it because it's not what you want to hear...and planting through a membrane is such a horrible practice. The weeds will seed on the surface anyway...and you're just making the soil poorer long term by largely cutting off the ground from the elements.

    You have the chance to save yourself a lot of headache in the near future by admitting in planting the wrong plant in the wrong place. Sooner or later reality will sink in. It's your choice if you want to hear. 
    I asked for advice on pruning/training.

    But thanks for your concerns about my weeds and the use of membrane. :p


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