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Why Is My Lemon Cypress Dry And Brittle?

Getting down to the bottom of whatever's affecting your garden can sometimes feel endless. Do you have a lemon cypress tree that is dry and brittle and have no idea what to do next? What could be causing this change in texture? Well, we've done extensive research, and here's what we found!

The leading cause of a dry, brittle lemon cypress tree is underwatering. Generally, an underwatered cypress will become dry and brittle before dying off entirely.

That said, you can usually save your tree by giving it some water and following a routine schedule for watering moving forward.

Your sickly-looking lemon cypress tree could also have a fungal infection or a pest-related disease if it's becoming brittle, so there are a few causes.

As we begin, we will cover all things lemon cypress trees and discuss what to do if one is dry and brittle. Whether you're new to this tree species or have a few growing in your garden, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic below!

Lemon Cypress in a pot, Why Is My Lemon Cypress Dry And Brittle?

What Causes A Dry, Brittle Lemon Cypress Tree?

Portrait view of yellow green Goldcrest Wilma, Lemon cedar, or Lemon Cypress

For anyone dealing with a super dry or brittle lemon cypress tree, this could be due to a lack of proper watering. As we mentioned above, if you forget to give your cypress enough water, it's likely to see it start to dry out.

You also want to check your cypress tree for signs of fungal or pest-related infections/diseases, although this isn't as common.

Especially in the summertime, your tree could need an extra watering each week or more water each session.

It's generally not a good idea to let a tree become too dry, as this can cause it to die.

Luckily, if you forget to give your tree enough water and slowly transition it back to a regular schedule, you should notice its condition improve over the next few weeks.

Remember, your lemon cypress might have been on its last leg, so just because you give it plenty of water today doesn't mean it will bounce back immediately tomorrow.

How Do You Revive A Dry Lemon Cypress Tree?

You want to work fast if your lemon cypress is dry and brittle. First, give your tree enough water, so its top layer of soil feels moist.

From there, you need to trim off any dead sections of your cypress. Typically, keeping dead or dying foliage on a tree can take away its energy and cause healthy areas to die.

Therefore, we recommend removing any dead or sickly branches/limbs unless you see signs of life.

Once your lemon cypress is looking better, you need to create a routine watering schedule, so your tree can gain its strength back.

Ideally, we recommend ensuring your sick tree has water twice a week. During this period, your cypress will be sensitive to over and underwatering, so moderation is essential.

So, if you go too wild with the water one day, you can hold off until the soil starts to dry.

The last thing you want to do is try to give your lemon cypress water and end up causing its roots to drown in the process.

Why Is My Lemon Cypress Droopy?

If you notice the branches on your lemon cypress tree drooping, there is too much water in the soil. Unlike a dry and brittle tree, one that looks droopy indicates the root system is too wet and needs time to dry out.

According to The Spectrum, giving a lemon cypress tree too much moisture can cause it to become top heavy, as its leaves will be filled with water.

Not only can this bloating cause your tree's roots to drown, but it can also lead to your cypress uprooting entirely from the soil.

Like underwatering, it's common to see people give their cypress too much hydration. Even if it's hot outside, your tree doesn't usually need more than 1-2 inches of water each week.

If you're giving a lemon cypress more than that, expect issues to arise.

Should You Mist A Lemon Cypress?

Yes! It can be a good idea to give your lemon cypress a good misting through the spring/summer months.

Experts also recommend misting cypress to ensure pests don't establish themselves on its foliage, so this can be beneficial for a few reasons.

Furthermore, it's good to mist your tree in the earlier morning or afternoon, so it can absorb that water through the hotter portion of the day.

If you mist at night, this can cause fungus to grow on your lemon cypress, making it dry and brittle. Generally, it's better not to give your plants, cypress or not, water before the sun sets, as wet soil can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Even if you live somewhere that stays hot through the evening, you still want to ensure you're misting and watering before the sun is ready to set.

You also want to remember that your cypress will appreciate a cool down through the heat of the day rather than one before it gets dark.

How Do You Know A Lemon Cypress Tree Is Dying?

Lemon Cypress plants behind the wall

If you're unsure whether your lemon cypress is dying or not, there are some signs to look for. Most often, a dying lemon cypress will shed its needles and discolor.

Considering this species is evergreen, a sick/dying one will have brown foliage. Of course, you will first notice the needles on your cypress become yellow.

From there, they will begin to turn brown and eventually fall off to the ground.

Some gardeners notice this start toward the base of their trees, ultimately leading to the top. It's best to catch a disease or lack of water early on to avoid more severe complications down the road.

Suppose your lemon cypress turns entirely brown. If/when this happens, your tree is likely beyond the point of revival and will need to be removed.

Even though establishing a watering schedule can save a cypress, it might not make a difference if you're too late.

Are Lemon Cypress Trees Drought-Tolerant?

Yes, once your lemon cypress tree becomes established, it should handle drought pretty well. Like many other evergreen species, a lemon cypress can handle dry, hot weather as long as it has an established root system.

For example, a newly planted tree isn't going to respond to less water than a 3-5-year-old one will. Moreover, a ten-year-old lemon cypress may be able to go weeks without proper watering, so this tree is resilient.

That said, we don't recommend purposely underwatering a lemon cypress. Like any tree, yours will need water to survive, so try to follow a schedule throughout the year.

Especially if you're in the desert, it's crucial to give your cypress plenty of hydration, to avoid brittleness or even death.

According to Guzman's Greenhouse, your lemon cypress is better off handling drought if it has good soil with plenty of nutrients, so keep that in mind while planting.

How Often Should I Water A Lemon Cypress Tree?

Lemon Cypress plant in green pot next to window.

Ideally, you want to give your lemon cypress a thorough watering twice a week. Depending on the season, your cypress may need more moisture or less, so this will vary.

For those with newly planted lemon cypress, you want to give your tree water right away.

Once you do that, you want to keep its soil moist for the first week and slowly phase it into your regular watering schedule.

As we covered, overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering for a lemon cypress tree.

It's best to keep the first layer of the ground beneath your lemon cypress moist but not to the point of water pooling.

Too much moisture in the ground can cause your tree's roots to bloat and drown, killing it altogether.

How Much Sun Does A Lemon Cypress Tree Need?

It's generally best to plant your lemon cypress somewhere that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Like many evergreens, these trees prefer plenty of warm, direct sun exposure, so keep that in mind.

Of course, if you live in a place with extreme heat, you might be able to get away with planting your cypress in partial shade.

Even though this tree species prefers warm, bright conditions, nobody likes 100+ degree weather for more than a short period.

When it comes to temperature, a lemon cypress does best in climates between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit, so this tree prefers more moderate weather.

Are Lemon Cypress Trees Easy To Grow?

Potted Cupressus Macrocarpa plants in the garden

Overall, lemon cypress trees should be easy to grow and manage. As long as you give your tree well-draining, nutrient-packed soil, it won't typically run into significant health problems.

As we said, it's also imperative to water your cypress enough, but not so much that the ground becomes soggy. Too much of a good thing can be detrimental to your tree's health, so moderation is key.

One of the interesting facts about lemon cypress is that it isn't overly picky about its soil type. For example, you will see these trees thrive in various conditions, whether the ground is loamy, denser, or sandy.

To Wrap It Up

Lemon cypress tree plant in room

Whether you have a lemon cypress tree growing or want to plant one, it's essential to water it correctly. We found that the main reason your tree will become dry and brittle is if you forget to water it or underwater it, so this can be serious.

In addition, you want to ensure your tree gets plenty of sunlight (6-8) hours, so the chances of overwatering aren't high. Remember, moderation is key with this species, so be careful how much or how little you water your cypress.

Made it to the end? Check out these related cypress tree posts below!

What's The Best Time To Plant Cypress Trees?

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Do Bald Cypress Trees Turn Brown In The Winter Or Lose Their Needles?