Monterey Cypress Tree: How To Grow, Care & Use


Planting a tree can be a gratifying activity, especially when it’s something that’s going to be around for years to come. One of the best types of trees to plant is a Monterey cypress, which is perfect for growing in places with cold weather. Monterey cypress trees are among the most drought-resistant species, which means they are ideal for California, but also perfect for any dry regions.

Monterey cypress trees (Cupressus macrocarpa) are beautiful evergreens that are native to the California coast. They can reach heights of 60 feet, but are typically shorter. Although they’re usually thought of as a tree, these plants are technically a cypress, like the ones grown in the Middle East for the building of boats. Monterey cypress trees are very versatile plants. If you are thinking about planting a Monterey cypress tree, here are ideas for incorporating it into your garden.

What is a Monterey cypress?

Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of up to 150 feet, with a spread of between 10-20 feet. It is native to the Central Coast of California and is ideal for gardeners in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7-10.

It has a conical shape and dense, dark green foliage. The tree is drought tolerant and makes an excellent windbreak or privacy screen.Monterey cypress is drought tolerant and thrives in full sun or partial shade. There are many ways to incorporate this beautiful tree into your garden. Here are five:

  • Use it as a standalone specimen tree.
  • Plant it in a row as a living fence.
  • Use it to create a privacy screen.
  • Use it in a landscape design.
  • Train it into a Bonsai.

How to identify Monterey cypress

Monteray cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) is easy to identify by its long, slender green leaves that are scale-like and overlap along the stem. The tree produces cones that are green when young and turn brown as they mature. The wood from the Monteray cypress is strong and durable, making it a popular choice for construction and furniture. The tree is native to California and can be found in the wild or in cultivation.

How to plant a Monterey cypress

Monterey cypress trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape. They are drought tolerant and thrive in a variety of soils, making them a versatile option for your yard. If you are looking to plant a Monterey cypress, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you select a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. Monterey cypress trees do not tolerate shade well and will not grow properly in the dark. Secondly, be sure to plant your tree in well-drained soil. Monterey cypress trees do not like wet feet and will quickly die if left in waterlogged soil for extended periods of time.When planted correctly, a Monterey cypress can add value to your home and provide shade and privacy.

How to care for a Monterey cypress

Because Monterey cypress is a slow-growing tree, it’s important to get the planting process right the first time. Make sure to water your tree regularly for the first two years after planting, making sure the soil is moist but not soggy. You can fertilize your tree once a year in the spring using an organic fertilizer. To keep your Monterey cypress healthy, avoid trimming it more than necessary. If you do need to prune, make sure to use sharp, clean shears and disinfect them afterward.

How to style a Monterey cypress

Monterey cypress trees have a natural pyramid shape that is often used in topiary forms. If you have a Monterey cypress in your yard, you can use it to add height and structure to your landscape. For a more formal look, prune your tree into a ball or cone shape. If you’re going for a more casual look, let it grow into a natural shape. You can also use Monterey cypress in your home to create a sense of height and grandeur. Place a tree in a large, empty corner or in the center of a room to add visual interest.

One of our favorite ways to style it is by using it as a Christmas tree! If you want to go that route, all you need is a tall, slim Monterey cypress and a few ornaments. You can also use it to create a winter wonderland in your home. All you need is a few branches of Monterey cypress, some white lights, and a few snow-themed decorations. It’s easy to achieve a rustic, wintery feel with this tree!.

Monterey Cypress Pests and Diseases

While generally a very hardy plant, Monterey Cypress can be susceptible to pests and diseases. Insects that may attack your Monterey Cypress include aphids, mealybugs, scale, thrips and whiteflies. These pests can damage the leaves or the stems of the plant, and can sometimes be difficult to get rid of. In terms of diseases, you might encounter leaf spot, root rot or stem rot. All of these diseases can cause serious damage to your plant and may even lead to its death. It’s important to be on the lookout for any signs of pests or diseases and to take action as soon as possible if you see any problems.

How to harvest a Monterey cypress

The Monterey cypress is best known for its gnarled, twisted limbs that make it a popular choice for landscaping. The tree’s dark green needles and cones provide year-round interest.

To harvest monteray cypress, use a handsaw or chain saw to cut the tree down. Make cuts perpendicular to the trunk and leave a foot-high stump. Then, use a hand saw or chain saw to cut the tree into logs of desired length.

The process of harvesting a Monterey cypress is relatively simple. The most important part is to make sure that the tree is healthy and has plenty of sap before you start. The first step is to cut off a branch near the top of the tree with a sharp saw. This will allow the sap to flow more easily. Next, use a sap gathering tool to collect the sap from the cut. Be sure to collect it in a container that will not let the sap spoil. Finally, seal the cut with a tree sealant to prevent the sap from flowing out and to keep the tree healthy.

How to grow and care for Monterey cypress

Aspect of CareGuidelines for Monterey Cypress
Hardiness ZoneUSDA Zones 7-10 (Monterey Cypress thrives in coastal regions and is well-suited to a mild, maritime climate)
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade (Prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade)
Soil Conditions– Well-drained soil is crucial; Monterey Cypress can tolerate a variety of soils but prefers those with good drainage. – Thrives in coastal, sandy soils.
Watering Needs– Regular watering, especially during the first few years to establish a strong root system. – Once established, it can tolerate drought conditions but benefits from occasional deep watering.
PruningMinimal pruning is generally required. Prune for shaping or size control in late winter or early spring. Avoid excessive pruning, which may lead to a loss of natural form.
SpacingProvide adequate spacing to allow for proper air circulation and to prevent overcrowding as the trees mature.
Fertilization– Monterey Cypress is not heavy feeders. – If the soil lacks nutrients, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Avoid excessive fertilization.
MulchingApply a layer of organic mulch around the base to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Avoid piling mulch against the trunk.
Pests and Diseases– Keep an eye out for pests such as cypress aphids and spider mites. – Monitor for canker diseases, and practice preventive measures, including proper spacing and good air circulation.
Wind ProtectionWhile Monterey Cypress is known for its wind resistance, providing windbreaks in extremely windy areas can help protect young trees from damage.
Coastal ConditionsIdeal for coastal landscapes; Monterey Cypress is well-adapted to the maritime climate, tolerating salt spray and strong winds.
Drought ToleranceOnce established, Monterey Cypress is moderately drought-tolerant. However, regular watering during dry periods is beneficial, especially for young trees.

Best Alternative for Monterey Cypress

Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)– Tall, slender evergreen with a columnar shape.
– Suitable for formal landscapes, avenues, and Mediterranean-style gardens.
Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’)– Large evergreen tree with striking blue-gray needles.
– Offers a unique and elegant appearance.
– Well-suited for larger landscapes and park settings.
Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)– Graceful evergreen tree with pendulous branches.
– Features feathery, blue-green needles.
– Suitable for larger landscapes and as a specimen tree.
Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica)– Drought-tolerant evergreen with a pyramidal shape.
– Features blue-green to gray-green foliage.
– Suitable for arid climates and well-drained soils.
Thuja Green Giant (Thuja standishii x plicata)– Fast-growing evergreen with a dense, pyramidal form.
– Adaptable to various soil types.
– Ideal for privacy screens and windbreaks.
– Low maintenance and deer-resistant.
Leyland Cypress (× Cuprocyparis leylandii)– Fast-growing evergreen with a conical shape.
– Popular for creating hedges and screens.
– Adaptable to different soil types.
– Requires regular watering for optimal growth.
Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica)– Tall, evergreen tree with a pyramidal shape.
– Features soft, needle-like foliage.
– Suitable for larger landscapes and as a specimen tree.


If you’re looking for a way to add some life and vibrancy into your home, the Monterey cypress might be just what you need. A member of the Cupressaceae family, these plants have been used in architecture from homes to historic cathedrals because of their ability to grow tall and straight. These trees can live a long time, with some living over 500 years!

Monterey cypress trees are elegant and long-lived evergreens that can add a touch of elegance to your yard, as well as provide you with some valuable resources. These conifers can be pruned into lovely shapes for year-round decoration or shaped into hedges. Monterey cypress can be used in a variety of ways in the garden, from hedging and screening to specimen trees and topiary.Plant one of these trees in the garden today and watch it grow healthy and strong!