How to Propagate a Cypress Tree

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Leyland cypress
Leyland cypress (Image: Bartomeu Amengual/Creatas/Getty Images)

There are dozens of varieties of cypress trees. One of the most commonly planted ornamental cypress trees is the fast-growing Leyland cypress. This tree has a pleasant, columnar shape that can top 50 feet at maturity with a spread of 15 to 20 feet, making it an excellent choice for formal hedge plantings and tall privacy screens. According to North Carolina State University Extension, cypress, like most woody ornamentals, is best propagated through semi-hardwood stem cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium-sized container
  • Soilless potting mixture
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowl
  • Ice
  • Wet paper towels
  • Rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Twist tie
  • Spray bottle

Take cypress cuttings in July, in early morning, when the plant's sap is moving the slowest. Prepare a medium-sized container by filling it with moist, soil-less potting mixture.

Cut a 6-inch, semi-hardwood stem from a healthy branch of the cypress. Semi-hardwood is easily identified by the dark brown bark on the twig, visible beneath the first flush of the year's growth. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, not straight across. This will leave a larger surface for rooting hormone to enter and stimulate growth.

Remove foliage from the bottom two-thirds of the cutting. Wrap cuttings in wet paper towels and set them in the bowl of ice to keep them cold and moist until you can root them. Don't let them sit this way for more than 12 hours.

Dip the bottom 2 inches of cut end of the cypress cutting into the rooting hormone, coating them thoroughly. Tap off the excess, and stick the cuttings into the soil to a depth of 2 inches. Pat the mixture down to eliminate air spaces.

Put the container into a clear plastic bag and seal it with a twist tie. Place the bagged container in indirect light, in a warm room. Open and mist daily, resealing the bag to keep humidity levels high around the cutting. Test the cutting after several weeks. If it resists a slight tug, it's rooting well. If not, you may need to try again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Freshly rooted cypress cutting should not be replanted outdoors until they are well-established. Keep them in pots for at least the first year.
  • Don't place bagged cuttings in direct light. Sun will spike the temperature inside the bag and kill the plant.

References

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