The Ultimate Guide to Topping a Cypress Tree

Close-up of a vibrant green cypress tree foliage against a soft white background.

Topping a cypress tree is only essential if you don’t want them to reach its full height. If you do, you should reconsider cutting the treetop. They tend to grow bushy limbs in a specific shape and thus, making it easy to maintain the plants.

Topping also helps prevent a plant from growing overboard to maintain a look. It is also essential to realize that cutting back cypress trees can lead to deadwood or unattractive trees.

However, the cypress doesn’t develop new buds on older woods, so it can lead to bare spots on the tree when you top the cypress tree.

Are There Undesirable Consequences for Topping a Tree?

If you haphazardly top a cypress tree, you might unintentionally kill it. And when you are unsure how to proceed with topping a cypress tree, you can consult a professional to do the work for you.

Are there undesirable consequences for topping a tree carelessly?

The answer is Yes.

If you don’t do it the right way, you may have a tree growing season and become trapped in an endless cycle of topping it every year. At the same time, if you don’t allow the topped branches to heal properly, you might also have a more dangerous tree.


Because the wounds that did not heal properly could pave the way for rot to set in. And rotten branches make a tree more likely to break; that’s why branches seemingly fall off without any apparent reason. A wound that did not heal properly also makes the tree susceptible to diseases and insect infestation.

Things To Consider

Keep in mind that poor pruning can easily lead to lifelong damage. Thus, don’t ever prune haphazardly. Cypress trees may take a while before they fully heal. If you cut it poorly, it will easily affect them. Also, remember minor cuts do less damage than large ones. Thus, correcting an issue when a tree is still young is easier than it is already mature.

Also, use the right pruning tool for your plant. Proper tool maintenance is essential and will prevent disease distribution among the plants.

Best Topping Practices for a Cypress Tree

1. Regularly Monitor the Cypress Tree

Always be observant about your plant, and whenever you notice dead limbs cut them. Check the tree attentively to see where topping is needed. When you see a branch penetrating, cut it to the main stem of the cypress tree. However, you shouldn’t flush with the trunk. This will help improve its growth.

2. Disinfect The Pruning Tools

For pruning, you can opt to use effective loppers for the branches and pruning saws for larger ones. For efficiency, you can also research the best pruning tool for your cypress tree variety. Also, always disinfect the tool before using it on another plant. If you don’t, you can quickly spread diseases from one sick plant to a healthy one.

You can use ethanol or isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the pruning blades. Using household disinfectant may not be that effective in killing dangerous pathogens. Remember to use the product that is most practical for you.

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3. Provide Favourable Conditions

If there are any diseased or dying limbs, you need to cut them. However, they can be saved if they haven’t turned brown completely. You must provide the right amount of water, sunlight, or nutrients to help maintain the tree’s health. The requirements are essential, and if you deny your cypress tree, it will be prone to diseases, infestation, and stunted growth.

4. Trim One-third of the Length

Top the tree only if it needs a particular shape or design to help slow down its growth. If you are shaping it to a specific design, trim the branches and not take more than one-third of the length at any time. If you trim it too much, it may have stunted growth for a while.

5. Prune at an Angle

It is recommended to cut the cypress trees during late winter when the tree is dormant. This practice reduces the adverse effects. The cutting should be done at a slight angle to prevent moisture build-up on the tips and encourage new growth.

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6. Regulate Its Growth

You can also top the cypress to stop it from growing any further. However, the effect is that it will start branching out more and getting wider. If that’s not what you wanted, you might as well prune leyland it occasionally. If you also have an overgrown cypress tree, you must begin trimming before new growth in spring. You can then repeat the task in late spring or early summer.

7. Pruning Duration

You must top the cypress plant annually to ensure it remains at your favorable height. Cutting the top branch at an angle of 45 degrees is essential to prevent moisture from resting on the wood and causing an issue.

8. Provide A Favourable Environment For Growth

You need to be cautious of your trees; whenever you notice them browning at some point, cut out the areas affected. Poor light, less water, insufficient nutrients, and poor air penetration may cause browning. Also, cut the branches in a spaced-out way for the tree to remain balanced.

If you cut on just one side, the tree can easily slant on one side, and it can cause long-term effects when it becomes windy.

9. Be Cautious of Its Natural Look

Be keen to cut back each long branch to a branch fork with a green shoot growing. Ensure you don’t cut all the green shoots from the branches because it can easily affect plant growth. On the underside of the branches, slant the cuts up at an angle. Keep in mind to ensure it retains its natural look.

10. Plant the Cypress Tree at the Right Place

You need to plant your trees in the right place. This is because you may decide to plant it near the house, and it may end up growing to such a risky height or interfering with other plants. This can easily deter the other’s growth. This will prompt you to cut the whole tree or regularly prune it to ensure the other plants meet the growth requirements.

Knowing so well that pruning can lead to stunted growth can reduce the aesthetic nature of the tree.


Topping a tree can be dangerous at times. That’s why if it requires too much work, you can opt to hire an arborist who will even guide you on the best pruning method to help improve the tree’s health. Always be careful with pruning, as it can even shorten the tree’s life. You need to maintain the structure of the tree.

The environment needs to look beautiful; it is essential to protect and maintain your plants to their full potential.


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