Thoughts on Cupressus Clipping

1st November 2013 • ArchivePrevious PostNext Post

You need:

- Cupressus sempervirens
- a good ladder, preferably a Niwaki Tripod Ladder
- some good shears, in this case 30" Okatsune jobs
- secateurs for cutting out woody stuff
- a dry day (there's a lot of looking up, and it's bad enough with clippings hitting you in the face and going down your neck, let alone rain)

I used to clip a lot of these, working for Architecural Plants. They tend to grow rather vigorously in the UK, and long side growth can easiy get weighed down (often with the cones) and mess the shape up, so it really helps to give them a clip once a year - at least. The more often one does it, the less invasive it will feel.

I tend to start from the bottom, reaching up as far as I can reach (8 or 9' with my long shears) then climb up the ladder and carry on from where I left off. This is one of the few trees where it makes more sense to clip from the bottom up, as the fastigiate growth reponds well to it and one doesn't have the cut-foliage-falling-on-clipped plant problem that regular wider-at-the-bottom topiary has.

Watch out for:

- bulges - if the tree had been topped in the past and allowed to grow taller, there'll be a bulge at that point.
- brown, dead bits - best remove them to make space for green bits, even if it leaves a gap for now.
- aphids - squish them by hand unless the tree is covered with them, in which case zap them.
- woody bits - cut them out with secateurs.
- the top - flat or pointy, or au naturelle?

Cupressus Clipping

Clipped Cupressus

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