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Large Italian Cypress - tree care and adjacent planting advice

Hi everyone,
I recently moved to Bristol with my partner and the flat we are letting has a large tree in the garden. The property is newly renovated (about a year ago) and was a business for a number of years and an old vicarage a while before that. The garden has been left fairly rundown and we have been doing our best in lockdown to do it up. There is a large tree at the back which we were mistakenly told was a Yew tree. After closer inspection, and a LOT of Googling , it seems it's an old Italian cypress. It has a few vines growing up it but seems in good health and I would roughly guess about 50/60 feet tall. 

I know there aren't many large ones around in our area and so I wondered whether any members had any tips for maintenance or planting near the tree. We have had to re-seed the lawn adjacent to it as the last tenants let it die out. The shade will definitely affect whether the lawn takes but I have a feeling it might have been down to lack of watering. 

Please excuse the inquiry but I have been searching around on the forums (both here and elsewhere) and have seen lots of advice on young Italian Cypress trees, and their rocket growth, but not dealing with mature trees. Any advice anyone can give on either care for the tree or for what to plant around it/soil health etc. would be gratefully received.
Thanks so much,
John

Posts

  • And a second apology! Good to start these things off on the right foot. Turns out my amateur sleuthing was pretty amateur. Apparently it is a cypress but not an Italian one. It seems most likely to be a Monterey Cypress. 
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,254

    What you might have is Cupressus macrocarpa but a photo would help but 32 are listed here
    Trees that big don't need anything doing to them and you will struggle to grow anything too close because it will be very dry.
  • K67 said:

    What you might have is Cupressus macrocarpa but a photo would help but 32 are listed here
    Trees that big don't need anything doing to them and you will struggle to grow anything too close because it will be very dry.
    Thanks so much for the reply. I think you are right going by the needles, bark and cone. I’ve added some photos below. Do these help?
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,254
    Might help someone but my identifying skills are pretty poor. It's obviously not a golden variety!
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 4,300
    Well not an Italian Cypress, which are tall, dense columnar trees but other than that I have no idea! Nothing much grows under the very dry shade of any conifer, so there was a reason the grass failed to thrive and will do so again. If you wanted to neaten it up you could mulch in a circle around it with pine bark chippings, so it looks planned rather than scrappy.
  • Thank you both for your help and advice. The mulching idea is a good one. We’ve been liberally watering the new lawn in a vain hope we can get it to take but, as you said, under the shade we might struggle to get anything to thrive. 

    If anyone else out there is a keen identifier, here is the bark and another of the tree itself. 
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,254
    edited 7 April
    On a cone hunt now 
    https://www.treeguideuk.co.uk/cypress-cones/
    Coming up with Monterey cypress.
    And under another latin name 
    https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/hesperocyparis-macrocarpa
    Bark looks similar
  • Thanks so much K67. I was on the exact same hunt. I think you are right about the Monterey cypress. Not too many of them around here so I think it must have been planted when the vicarage was here. I'm going to do some investigating and see if I can get an approximate age of the tree. I think they grow pretty quickly so I'd guess maybe 50-60 years.
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