I live in Montana, which is zone 4, and recently visited the San Diego area, (just got back last nite), and absolutely LOVE the "Italian Cypress" !!! Although I am aware that this tree is not zone hardy for our region, I was wondering if there is any other type of evergreen that would emulate the same effect, and be cold hardy for our area? I have a 3000 sq ft garden area, and would like this striking effect for a privacy "wall" and wind break...thanks!!!
Cupressus sempervirens Stricta
The closest is Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket'. Not as large as Mediterranean Cypress, but similar shape, and hardy in zone 4.
One note of caution, though: the reason why trees with similar shape are rare in colder areas, is that they are vulnerable to snow damage, the erect branches can easily be bent out sideways, giving the thing a very 'bad hair day' effect.
thank you for your response. is it possible to trim them to give the more compact topiary effect?
Yes, but only gently - don't cut back hard, or you'll be left with brown dead patches that won't re-grow.
The skyrocket juniper is your best bet, but don't use it as a wind break, as they die out when they touch. they are good only as a specimen plant, three in a triangle is very effective. I have seen them topiaried as a spiral but the only problem with that is that they are so fast growing that they become high maintenance, requiring constant pruning.
Another option for your climate with a similar (not identical) slender appearance would be Picea pungens 'Pyramidalis' a.k.a. Columnar Colorado Spruce... http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/64101/index.html ... should hold up well to snowfall as the photo might suggest. :-)
Edited to add that the cultivar 'Fastigiata' may be synonymous (although technically invalid as a cultivar name)... http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/pipufast1.htm
This message was edited Feb 13, 2007 6:42 PM