Is it possible to plant and grow Italian cypress in the Chicago area? Are our winters too severe for it? If they are, is there an alternative conifer that will provide a similar look?
Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) has dark green foliage and horizontal branches and grows into a dense column 60 feet high in Italy. It is not hardy here.
Paul Jeffers, tree and shrub salesperson, Gethsemane Garden Center, Chicago, suggests substituting a dense, columnar arborvitae, (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata’). It grows to 25 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but can be kept lower by pruning. The very narrow arborvitae ‘DeGroots Spire’ is another choice. The false cypress Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’, often mistaken for arborvitae, is a tight upright growing plant.
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