How to Care for an Arizona Cypress Tree


The Arizona cypress tree is an evergreen with dense blue-gray to silver-gray foliage that brings interest into the home garden that lasts throughout the winter. In contrast to the foliage, however, the branches take on a more open habit when compared to other landscape plants of the cypress family such as junipers. As their name suggests, Arizona cypresses are native to deserts of the southwestern U.S. including areas such as Arizona, California and New Mexico. Grow these trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7a to 9b for best growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • Plant Arizona cypress trees, Cupressus arizonica, in areas of the landscape that offer full sunlight exposure for best growth.

  • Maintain well-drained soil conditions for optimal growth.

  • Irrigate your tree if you live in a climate like that of Arizona that remains dry most of the year until monsoon season. Irrigate your tree's soil with approximately 2 feet of water monthly during dry periods, such as May through July, or until natural rainfall takes over. Avoid irrigating soil, however, in more humid climates and when soil is already receiving water. Waterlogged conditions can result in root rot.

  • Examine your Arizona cypress tree for cypress bark beetles. Look for red-brown to black beetles measuring approximately 1/8 inch in length. These beetles bore into twigs when trees are well irrigated and healthy, and into trunks in cases of severe infestations brought on by trees stressed by lack of moisture.

  • Control cypress bark beetle problems to keep your tree alive and healthy because infestations can kill trees. Maintain consistent care of trees for best resistance and to keep beetles from boring into trunks. Cut away with pruning shears, collect and destroy affected, dead or fallen plant parts.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select sites for Arizona cypress trees with enough growth room because these trees reach a height of 30 to 40 feet and a spread of 15 to 25 feet at a rapid rate of approximately 1 foot annually.
  • Avoid heavy clay soils that tend to have drainage problems.
  • Do not attempt to treat cypress bark beetles with insecticides; they are not effective on Arizona cypress tree infestations.
  • Wear gardening gloves to avoid injury when handling sharp tools such as pruning shears.

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