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False cypresses are evergreen, disease resistant and fast growing. They are therefore very popular with gardeners as a hedge or as individual plants. When keeping as a hedge, you have to cut cypresses regularly, otherwise they will not fulfill their function as a privacy screen for long.

False cypresses can be pruned all year round

Do false cypresses always have to be cut?

If you have a lot of space in the garden, you can simply let the cypress grow. In a sunny location without many neighbors, the conifers around the bottom will not wilt as quickly because they get enough light.

It is different if you want to grow false cypresses as a hedge or bonsai. Then you can't avoid regular pruning.

If you don't cut back cypress trees that are dense or in the shade once or twice a year, they will shoot up. The lower part then does not get enough light, turns brown and is no longer opaque.

The best time to prune cypress trees

Theoretically, you can cut false cypresses all year round, even in winter when it's not freezing.

When pruning twice, the first is usually done in spring and the second in early fall.

How you cut the cypress into shape is up to you. Column forms have proven particularly useful when planting hedges. But you can also care for the pruning conifers as bonsai.

Never cut into old wood

  • Remove shoot tips
  • Cut dry or discolored shoots
  • Cut off false cypresses that are too high

Be sure to avoid cutting into scrap wood. The conifer does not sprout again in damaged areas.

Basically, leave a small piece of the shoot with a few needles attached.

Do not throw clippings in the compost

False cypress contains essential oils that prevent it from rotting in the compost heap. Therefore, dispose of the prunings with the household waste.

Another option is to chop up the leftovers and spread them under the cypresses as a mulch layer.

But beware: Do not leave any remains of the poisonous cypress in the garden if children and pets are in it.


Many experienced gardeners do not cut cypresses in spring, but only after St. John's Day. This is June 24th. After this point, the cypress stops growing as much and stays in shape longer.

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