The Italian Cypress is a fast-growing fall evergreen tree that lends itself well to architectural design. The Italian Cypress makes a bold statement and is susceptible to very few diseases.
Growing Regions and Conditions
The Italian Cypress grows well in the lower 48 states and grows up to 40 feet tall, and its width can reach 5 feet at full maturity. The Italian Cypress thrives in full or partial sun, is drought tolerant when established and can grow in any soil condition.
While not a disease, the Italian Cypress can become infested with small worm-like larvae that can feed on the needles of the tree, leaving the branches bare. There are three ways to help control bagworms: naturally with the use of insects such as Vespid wasps or hornets, by manually removing the larvae sacks (they appear to be small clumps of needles) from the tree, or by using an insecticide that contains bacillus thuringiensis.
These insects are hard to see with the naked eye, but the Italian Cypress will show signs with brown spots on the needles. If spider mites are expected, a person can take a twig that shows the brown spots on the needles and tap it against a sheet of white paper. If brown specks appear and are moving, the tree has spider mites. Spider mites are hard to get rid of with a miticide because the eggs are not affected. The best treatments are either the use of a high-power water spray or insects such as the dark-colored lady beetle known as “spider mite destroyer.”
Root rot is evident by dull, yellow and wilted foliage. When the roots are exposed, they are brown and mushy to the touch, and the skin protecting the root will slide off when moved. The best defense is preparing the soil before planting, making sure that it has the proper drainage. If the Italian Cypress is already established and begins to show signs of root rot, a person can dig a trench around the base of the plant to help water drain property.
Canker disease is the most serious and vicious disease that can affect the Italian Cypress. Canker fungus is carried in the wind. This disease will create lesions that seep tree resin and will girdle the limbs as the canker grows. The Italian Cypress will turn a faded yellow before dying. There is no chemical treatment for Canker. You can prune well below the infected area, but it only prolongs the tree’s life. The best remedy is to cut down the tree and start again.