Italian Cypress Cupressus sempervirens Totem

Description & features

Step 1 - Select plant type

Bare root guide

Step 2 - Size and quantity

Photo
Size / Height
Price
Quantity
 
12L pot size / 125-150cm
£72.00
50L pot size / 2.5-3.0m
£300.00
30L pot size / 200-250cm
£195.00

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

Product description

CUPRESSUS SEMPERVIRENS TOTEM – Italian Cypress

Characteristics

Totem is an extremely narrow type of Italian Cypress suitable for smaller spaces.  It is reported to grow to 4m (15ft) tall and no wider than ½m (18’’) wide in 10 years.

The Mediterranean Cypress is largely native around the Mediterranean Sea. It can be found as far north as Switzerland, south to Libya and east to Iran and most places in between. Peculiarly it is also known as the Italian cypress despite not being native to Italy. It has been however been extensively cultivated there.

Where to grow

Ideally suited to climates with hot, dry summers and wet, mild winters, Cupressus sempervirens is sufficiently adaptable to grow, if not thrive, in most conditions. Its slim upright form lends itself perfectly to being planted in gardens and lining avenues and it has been successfully grown in Britain. It is not known exactly when it first reached British shores but it is thought to have been before 1600.

Did you know?

Totem is a narrow form of Cupressus sempervirens Pyramidalis the typical variety of fastigiate habit, though not known in the wild state, it is the one most widely planted.   Not thought to be fully hardy in this country it is more susceptible when young to cold winters.

Features

Mature height
Very Small up to 5 metres
Spread
0-5 metres
Shape / habit
Fastigiate
Growth rate
Slow
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty / hard to grow
Hard
Evergreen / Deciduous
Evergreen
Season of interest
Autumn
Winter
Spring
Summer
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Scent
Scented Foliage
Other
Needs shelter
Dislikes cold sites
Uses
Garden Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites

Features

Mature height
Very Small up to 5 metres
Spread
0-5 metres
Shape / habit
Fastigiate
Growth rate
Slow
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty / hard to grow
Hard
Evergreen / Deciduous
Evergreen
Season of interest
Autumn
Winter
Spring
Summer
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Scent
Scented Foliage
Other
Needs shelter
Dislikes cold sites
Uses
Garden Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites

Aftercare

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.

Watering

The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.

Staking

If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.

Ties

Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


Comments

By MRS LEVINSON on 21/01/2014

I WOULD LIKE TO GET A 5 TO 6 FT CUPRESSUS SEMPERVIRENS TOTEM – Italian Cypress. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT IT AND ALSO THE BEST WAY TO PLANT A TREE OF THAT SIZE?
WITH BEST WISHES,

MRS LEVINSON

By Simon on 23/01/2014

The best time to plant Italian Cypress trees is in the late spring. The reason for this is it would give them a decent amount of time to root out before the winter. Though as they are in containers you can plant them at any time of year.

Kind regards,

Simon

By Norman on 18/03/2015

Can the Totem be successfully grown in pots?

By Simon on 23/03/2015

Hello Norman,

I have seen them kept in pots with some success. But it can be tricky to get the watering correct as they don’t like to much but also don’t like to dry out.

I hope this helps.

By Beatrice on 30/10/2015

I recently planted three cupressus totem just over a metre high. Do I need to stake them?

By Simon on 03/11/2015

Hello Beatrice,

At that size, you should be okay with a stout cane rather than a stake.

By Lewis on 31/07/2016

Are these trees ok for shade most of the day, will it effect the trees in any way. Thanks

By Victoria on 24/11/2016

Our Cupressus has been in our garden for 2 years and is already 10ft tall. It is now bending over with the wind. I have had it staked with a stout cane but it is much taller than the cane. Should I stake it properly with a wooden stake please? Thank you.

By Simon on 25/11/2016

Hello Victoria,

We would recommend leaving a stake on the tree for 2-3 years after planting, depending on conditions. It’s fine for the upper part of the tree to flex in the wind - this will help the trunk and roots strengthen - but you do need to make sure the roots don’t suffer windrock or the tree will suffer. A cane is useful for training a straight stem but may not provide the necessary stability, depending on conditions.

By Pollyanna on 23/03/2017

I would like to grow Italian Cypress as a hedge near a retaining wall, with soil level around 4 feet higher than my neighbour’s garden. What is the footprint of this tree? and is it a stable tree when stablished?
Thank you for the information.

By Simon on 01/04/2017

Hello Pollyanna,

I will email you with details of our current stock. The trees are stable once established, but taller trees will benefit from staking and caning in early years.

By Halina on 25/08/2017

I successfully grow Cupressus Totem Pole in pots but I want to plant them in the garden near fence to block out neighbors. Can you please let me know about the root system ? Are the roots spreading out or deep in the soil ?
Thank you in advance for letting me know.
Halina

By Simon on 01/09/2017

Hello Halina,

Cupressus Totem forms a relatively shallow, fibrous root system, rather than sending out a deep tap root. As a small tree, these will not be invasive.

By Gay Lyle on 20/02/2019

I want to grow a Tuscan Totem Pole at the back of a bed near a fence in a small space to fill a gap.  I have shrubs and flowers growing in this bed.  Will the Totem Pole take too much out of the soil for the present flowers and shrubs to flourish - as they do at the moment.
I would appreciate your advice.

By Simon on 22/02/2019

Hello,

You would want to keep a metre free from any other planting at the base of the new tree for the first 2/3 years of planting. Just to help the tree get established. But after that you should be able to plant up to the tree, but you may need to think about fertilising more often.

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