10+ Year Old Lemon Cypress

Asked August 15, 2019, 3:01 PM EDT


I have a Wilma Monterey Cypress / Cupressus Macrocarpa / Lemon Cypress tree I grew from babyhood into the magnificent, thick, large, towering, nearly two-story height over the course of 10+ years. I love this tree with all my heart. It survived ice-storms, snowstorms, and with my loving care, became the most magnificent tree I ever had. I recently had someone abusive and belligerent enter my garden from the back gate. It took me some time to convince the person to leave. They were alone with my tree in the back. After they left, I placed a lock on the back gate. However, within a matter of weeks, my 10+ year-old tree, who had always been magnificently healthy, began turning brown from the inside out. The very top dried out, and while initially the outside foliage still looked magnificent, the entire inside, from bottom to top, began to turn brown, dry and die. There were a couple of "Weed-Be-Gon" types of products on the shelves below my back deck. If the person had poured weed killer in the base of my tree, would this explain what is happening to a 10+ year-old tree who always until then was the epitome of magnificent health, vigor, wellness, and radiance? If not, what could possibly ignite such a radical, abrupt and sudden downfall? All of my other trees are still in perfect health. They are all in large half-barrels (since I rent). The person knew how much I love this tree.

Thank you in advance for your kind insights!

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

In general, growing lemon cypress is not difficult. The trees require well-draining soil, but are not picky about whether it is loamy, sandy or chalky. They also accept acidic, neutral or alkaline soil.

If you are growing lemon cypress in your backyard, you’ll need to learn about care for lemon cypress outdoors. They thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Lemon cypress trees cannot survive shade, so you’ll need to plant your outdoor tree in a sunny spot.

And don’t neglect irrigation, especially immediately after planting. During the tree’s first growing season, you’ll need to water twice a week. Watering is always an important part of care for lemon cypress outdoors. After the first year, water whenever the soil is dry. Don’t forget water – essential for lemon cypress. They won’t forgive you if you don’t give them drenching once a week – you’ll see brown needles appear.

In spring, it’s time to feed the tree. Apply a standard, slow-release 20-20-20 fertilizer before new growth appears in the spring.

If your intruder emptied the contents of your “weed-be-gone” herbicide around the root zone of your tree and it was watered in then your tree could certainly be suffering from herbicide damage. If your tree is in a container as the other trees you mentioned, then it could also be suffering from that confinement.

Hope this helps!