Cypress Tree Trimming: Information About Cutting Back Cypress Trees

cypress trees
Image by veyla

By Teo Spengler

Rejuvenating a cypress tree necessarily means trimming, but you have to be careful how you wield those clippers. Cutting back cypress trees too drastically results in dead wood and unattractive trees. Read on for more information on pruning cypress trees.

Can You Prune a Cypress?

Cypress trees are narrow-leaf evergreens. Like other narrow-leaf evergreens, cypress do not develop new buds on the older wood. That means that cutting new shoots back to the branch may result in bare spots on the tree. On the other hand, cypress tree trimming is entirely feasible if you know what you are doing.


Cypress are one of several species classified as “scale-leaf” needled evergreens. Unlike pine trees, with leaves that look like needles, cypress leaves appear more like scales. Both cypress and false-cypress are included in this category.

Rejuvenating a cypress tree that is overgrown or unshapely involves trimming. Although excess pruning is destructive to a cypress, cutting back cypress trees at the right time and in the right way creates a better, stronger tree.

Rejuvenating a Cypress Tree

If you are thinking of rejuvenating a cypress tree, it is important to prune at the correct time of year. Dead, broken and diseased branches should be removed as soon as possible after you notice the damage. However, pruning to shape the tree or reduce its size must wait for the appropriate season.

When you are rejuvenating a cypress tree that is overgrown, begin cypress tree trimming just before new growth begins in the springtime. You can pick up the pruners again in late spring or early summer if necessary to control growth or maintain an attractive tree shape.

Tips on Cutting Back Cypress Trees

The rule when pruning cypress trees is to work slowly and gently. Proceed branch by branch to determine what cuts are necessary.

Cut back each overly-long branch to a branch fork with a green shoot growing from it. This is the most important rule for cutting back cypress trees: never cut all green shoots from any branch since the branch will not be able to grow more. Proceed from the underside of the branches, slanting the cuts up.

When you are pruning cypress trees, aim for a natural look by pruning some branches deeper into the foliage than others. The tree should not look “pruned” when you are done.

Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Cypress.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: