How to Trim Cypress Trees: 5 Expert Tips for a Lovely Look 

How to trim a cypress bush

Cypresses make elegant ornamental trees for gardens, landscapes, and indoor spaces.  However, their fast growth requires trimming to maintain a lovely look and long-term well-being.

So, knowing how to trim cypress trees is very important to foster their evergreen beauty. Cypress trees need trimming once a year, although some species, like the Leyland Cypress, need to be trimmed twice yearly.

Remember, wrong pruning can damage your cypress trees, so if you are unsure what you are doing, it’s good to hire an expert. Read on and learn how to trim cypress trees. 

How to Trim Cypress Trees

1. Prune your cypress tree during the early spring or late summer when they are in their dormant season before the new growth begins.

How to trim tall cypress trees


2. Note that different cypress species have different growth patterns, so you should prune each according to its growing pattern. So, before trimming your trees, research and understand their trimming needs.

3. . When trimming, ensure you maintain the natural shape of your cypress tree. Remember, you want to enhance its shape rather than alter it. Over-trimming will not only destroy its natural shape but will also harm its health.

4. Use sharp and clean tools when trimming your cypress trees. Ensure you disinfect your tools before and after trimming. You can use loppers or shears for small cypresses and a pruning saw for large cypress trees.

5. Start by removing diseased or dead branches, as they can spread pests and diseases to other healthy branches.

6. Remove some interior branches if your cypress has dense foliage. This will help with even air circulation and light penetration.

7. Prune your cypress carefully. For small branches, cut the ones above a lateral branch or healthy bud. For larger branches, cut a few inches from the branch collar and then cut from above. 

8. Avoid cutting the top of your cypress tree straight across, which can lead to unhealthy growth.

9. As you continue trimming your cypress, assess the tree to ensure you are maintaining a balanced shape.

10. Avoid using wound sealants by all means. Allow your cypress trees to heal naturally.

11. After trimming your tree, ensure you dispose of the debris around your tree to prevent attracting pests. 

How often do you prune cypress trees?

Trimming Italian cypress trees


The frequency of pruning cypress trees depends on the species and age of the tree, among other factors. For instance, the Leyland Cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii) has a fast growth rate and thus may need pruning at least twice yearly.

Can you cut the top of a cypress tree?

Yes, you can cut the top of a cypress tree. However, you should do it with caution and only if it is necessary. Some cypress species grow tall, so cutting their top will help control their size and shape. 

 Can you cut a cypress tree in half?

Yes, you can cut a cypress tree in half. However, this does not apply to all cypress tree species. And it only applies to those species with vigorous regrowth. Before cutting your cypress in half, consider whether that species can regrow fast from the cut.

Can I cut the lower branches of a cypress tree?

Cutting the lower branches of a cypress tree or ‘limbing up’ can be beneficial for the tree. Limbing up your cypress tree will give your tree an appealing shape and help with airflow.

How much can you cut a cypress tree?

Cypress trees have a limit on how much you can cut on a single pruning. You should not remove more than 25% of your tree’s foliage in a single pruning. Overcutting can weaken the tree and expose it to diseases or decay.

Can you cut the top of an Italian cypress tree?

The Italian cypress trees (Cupressus sempervirens) can grow tall, so cutting their top or topping will help control their height. However, you should cut its top when it’s in its dormant season, early spring or late winter. 

The Bottomline

If you are unsure about how to trim a cypress tree, you should seek professional assistance to avoid damaging your tree. However, the above tips will help you become a pro in pruning your cypress.

Otherwise, pruning your cypress trees is important to enhance their beauty and overall health to ensure they grace your landscape or patio for life.




Author Profile

🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼