The Italian Cypress (Cupressus Sempervirens) is also called ‘pencil cypress’ because of its tall, slim pointy silhouette. The Italian Cypress tree is usually reasonably easy to care for because of the minimal amount of supervision it needs; it does not require regular pruning. As long as the Italian Cypress is well-drained, it will survive and grow well in almost any soil type because the Italian Cypress is tolerant of drought. Because of the Italian Cypress’s strong ability to adapt to conditions, it is relatively disease-free; however, this does not rule out the tendency of it becoming diseased. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the diseases that can affect these luxury giant trees and ways to treat them so as to save your Italian Cypress. Learn more!
Plant disease is defined as “an aberrant condition in a plant caused by pathogenic parasites, micro-organisms, unfavorable nutritional, genetic and environmental factors interfering with the vital physiological processes of a plant.” Leaning on this comprehensive definition, some diseases are common to Italian Cypress if proper care is not taken. Most common among plant diseases are root rot, Cypress canker, spider mites, and bagworms.
Phytophthora root rot is a result of planting Italian Cypress in compacted soil and overwatering it. Phytophthora root rot is majorly caused by a fungal-like organism known as “Phytophthora Cinnamomi.” The Phytophthora Cinnamomi increasingly dwells in soils that retain a high level of soil moisture for days due to poor drainage and overwatering.
Phytophthora Cinnamomi rots small feeder roots so that the tree’s canopy will not get the necessary supply of water and nutrients needed to grow and survive. As a result of this root rot, parts of the tree crown turn pale and yellow and ultimately brown; after some weeks, the leaves and branches suddenly become dry.
The bark at the lower portion’s crown, if removed, will reveal a line of brown dead tissue. When the infection reaches the base of the tree, the tree will become brown and rotted. The diseased tree will affect every other tree adjacent to it, as the mortality will spread from one plant to the other, therefore forming a cluster of diseased trees.
To treat the Phytophthora root rot disease, practices such as supplying proper drainage and minimizing irrigation will help reduce the amount of soil moisture and make the environment not conducive for the growth of the disease-causing pathogen (Phytophthora Cinnamomi).
In addition to these practices, during years of heavy rainfall or times when irrigation is excessive, fungicides that are labeled for use on Phytophthora can be applied to the soil to control Italian Cypress root rot. It is essential to use the fungicide in the spring, summer, and fall to prevent a recurrence.
Just as it is crucial to plant your tree appropriately, it is also essential to adequately care for it afterward. The Italian Cypress shouldn’t be neglected because of its unique qualities to adapt to conditions; rather, it should be treated with love and great care.