Native to the Mediterranean region, the Italian cypress was a fixture in ancient Greek and Italian gardens, and Greeks used the wood to carve statues of the Gods. A unique species with a narrow, columnar growth, this tree now grows across a significant portion of the U.S.
The Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens, shoots straight into the sky with a narrow column of growth. This evergreen tree grows to between 40 and 60 feet tall, although it often is found in shorter stature. The tree typically is no more than 3 feet wide. Italian cypress is regularly used in landscape settings as a hedge or screen,and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences indicates that the tree normally grows too tall for residential landscapes.
The narrow width of the Italian cypress and significant height lends itself to images of a sort of green electrical pole. Landscapers who do wish to use it as a frame or screening plant the trees approximately 3 feet apart from each other. A member of the Cupressaceae family, the Italian cypress originated in Southern Europe and Western Asia and is adorned with scale-like leaves and branches that grow into a symmetrical crown.
The Italian cypress is best able to achieve its full height in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7B through 11, an area that encompasses the warmer, southern sections of the U.S. in addition to coastal locales. It grows inland along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Also known as a pencil pine, the Italian cypress has gray-green leaves that are less than 2 inches in length and point to the sky.
Environment plays a part in how tall the Italian cypress tree grows. It appreciates full sunshine on a variety of well-drained soils. Proper irrigation is vital, otherwise the tree is susceptible to developing root rot, a condition that will impacts its potential height. Canker disease has killed many Italian cypress trees, especially in the California area. Newly planted trees need regular watering until they are well established.