Cypress is a beautiful and fast-growing tree native to North America. They make landscapes look beautiful and are easy to care for. Young cypress trees require a lot of water to grow, but once they stabilize, they can even withstand occasional drought.
The most popular types of cypress trees are bald, arborvitae, pond, and hinoki. However, Pond cypress is not usually grown in homes.
Cypress trees may be one of the easiest conifer trees to grow, but they also have challenges of their own. If you have grown a cypress tree in your garden and notice that it is not doing well, you should try to revive it as soon as possible.
To revive the tree, you need to identify the problem so that you can specifically deal with it. Our guide will help you to tackle different issues and save your tree. If you’re not sure what the problem is, you can as well call an arborist to help you out.
Here are some of the causes of an unhealthy cypress tree and how to overcome them:
Check The Soil Drainage
The first procedure to undertake if your cypress tree is not doing well is to inspect the area’s drainage. Cypress trees grow well in well-drained soil. If the soil is poorly drained, then there is a high chance that your tree won’t do well.
What’s more, poorly drained soil is a massive contributor to the development of cypress diseases.
If the plant is still young, transfer it to better and well-drained soil. Cypress trees grow well in slightly acidic soil that is also loamy. But if the tree has fully developed and in soil that is compacted or porous, you can add organic matter.
This will help to add nutrients to the soil and prevent weed from competing with the tree.
Besides, you can also create a raised mulch bed to improve the soil structure and conserve moisture. Alternatively, you can add compost manure to fertilize the soil.
Move The Cypress Tree In Full Sunlight
A cypress tree located in a shady area may struggle to grow and even die. Cypress tree requires at least 8 hours of sunlight every day. Most types of cypress trees grow perfect in full sunlight. Therefore, if your cypress tree is growing in a shady area, you should ensure it is in an open space.
If tree branches are surrounding the cypress tree, make sure to cut them so that there is no shade prohibiting the plant from getting full sunlight.
If it is a potted cypress tree, don’t place it indoors as it will not get enough sunlight to grow steadily and healthily. Instead, put it outdoors where it gets plenty of sunlight and good air circulation.
Moreover, get rid of taller plants around the cypress tree that may be prohibiting it from getting enough sunlight. If the shade was the problem and your tree wasn’t receiving enough sunlight, you will see it come back to life after a few months.
Diseases also hinder the growth of cypress trees. Most cypress diseases usually occur when the plant is being overwatered, under-watered, or in poor air circulation. Such a tree can easily fall victim to pathogens that can bring about dangerous diseases.
Some of the usual diseases that cypress trees suffer from include cypress canker, Phytophthora root, and crown disease, and needle blight.
Different Cypress Diseases And How To Handle Them
- Canker – Canker is also referred to as a Seridium canker. This is a fungus that attacks the bark of the tree, leaving its leaves yellow and killing the plant slowly. You can easily detect this fungus by checking cracks in the bark where the fungus attacked it from.
To revive your tree from this disease, simply get rid of infected branches. However, if a canker attacks most of your tree or the whole tree, then you will have to throw it away. This disease is dangerous and can spread to other nearby trees.
- Phytophthora root and crown disease – this disease is caused by the soilborne fungal pathogens of the Phytophthora species. The disease can be detected by discolored leaves and wilted tree. The discolored leaves may display in different hues, such as red or yellow.
Restore your tree by removing the infected bark close to the soil or by the use of a fungicide.
- Needle blight – this is a nonparasitic disease that causes the leaves to change to brown. This disease occurs because of insufficient watering habits. It can happen because of too much water or too little water. As a result, it kills the tree’s feeder roots, which end up affecting the leaves.
Restore the cypress tree by feeding it the right amount of water. Note that a cypress tree needs a different amount of water at various stages of growth and seasons. Also, you can use an antifungal spray to remove needle blight.
Check If There Is An Insect Infestation
Insect attacks are another killer of cypress trees. These are easy to deal with, but you’ve to identify the insects fast. Notable insects that attack cypress trees are bagworms and spider mites.
- Bagworm – bagworms such as a caterpillar can form a silken bag for protection that hangs from a tree. The bag is usually covered with pieces of bark and leaves. The problem is that the bag hosts the female caterpillar that can lay between 500 and 1000 eggs before it dies. With such a number, your tree doesn’t have a chance to survive if you don’t get rid of the silken bag in good time.
Use either a pesticide to kill the caterpillars or handpick the silken bag from your tree. For the best results, you should pick the bag and apply the pesticide.
- Spider mite – these are the most dangerous insects that can attack your cypress tree. And if you don’t notice them in good time, then your tree may not survive. Spider mites suck on plant cells, which kills foliage and destroys the whole plant. One of the signs of a spider mite attack is when your leaves turn brown. However, you can confirm this by placing a white paper piece below some leaves and shaking the plant. With the help of a magnifying glass, you will see them move on the paper.
Get rid of spider mites using insecticidal soaps, high-pressure water, or pesticide made explicitly for killing spider mites.
Provide Enough Water
Young cypress trees need enough water for them to stabilize. Failure to provide enough water, the tree may end up dying or become weak. If you want to revive your tree, you will have to provide it with enough water at different growth stages. Too much water causes root rot, while lack of water causes the leaves to turn brown.
After the first few days of planting or transplanting a cypress tree, check if it is undergoing any stress. Also, inspect the soil and ensure that it is not too dry or too wet. Proper drainage is vital at this stage of development.
This should go on until the roots are established in the soil. If the plant shows signs of distress, put a layer of mulch on top of the soil. This will help the soil to retain moisture.
On average, you should water the young cypress tree at least 3-inches deep. For the first watering, water at least three times a week. After 3 weeks, you can reduce the watering as the roots will be established.
But if the plant still shows signs of distress, you can add fertilizer in early spring before dormancy kicks in or in late spring.
Fully developed cypress trees are normally drought-resistant and require to dry out between waterings. During watering, make sure the water penetrates up to 24-inches. The root balls of the tree should soak so that water penetrates deep and is used later.
How To Properly Prune Your Cypress Tree
If you want to get rid of the infected or dried out branches, it is essential to prune your tree properly. Additionally, you’ve to do it at the right time. Start by removing diseased, dead, and broken branches. Also, prune the tree before spring.
However, you can also prune it in late spring or early summer to control its growth. Prune the branches from down going up. Don’t cut all green shoots from a single branch as it will prevent growth.
Cypress trees are easy to grow and maintain. They don’t need a lot of fertilizer or water to thrive when they are fully grown. You can prevent your cypress tree from dying by monitoring it closely. As a result, you can detect if it is being attacked by fungus, spider mites, or facing any other challenge.
If the cypress tree is not salvaged early and goes into advanced stages, reviving it may be impossible. But with our guide, you should be able to restore your cypress in time.
We wish you all the best as you attempt to revive your cypress tree!