Leaves turning brown on newly planted Italian Cypresses

Discussion in 'COMPANION PLANTS - TROPICAL & SUBTROPICAL' started by TonyLoco, May 14, 2014.

  1. TonyLoco

    TonyLoco Active Member

    South Florida
    I planted 2 baby Italian cypresses in front of my house about 6 months ago. I planted them on a north facing wall where in winter they only got full sun after 3 pm. About 3 months ago I actually dug them up and moved them a foot further from the wall so they would get more sun.
    The move in combination with the onset of summer means they now get sun all day.
    The leaves are now browning in places and the branches are beginning to droop. See attached photos. What could the problem be?
    Spider Mites:
    I researched online and learnt that to check for spider mites I should hold a piece of paper under them and shake the branches to see how many tiny spiders fall on the paper. I have done this twice now over the last few weeks and both times I only found one tiny spider. Should I be worried about a single spider mite?
    No idea if the problem is that they have too much water on not enough. Italian Cypresses need to be watered sparingly, but when they are first planted they require regular watering. They are currently watered by a sprinkler, the brown leaves appear to be in the exact location where the sprinkler hits the tree, though that may be just a coincidence. I have turned the sprinklers off for now so we’ll see if they will recover without the sprinkler contact.
    Any other ideas as to what the problem may be? When I first noticed the browning I applied a copper fungicide and some fertilizer.
    Should I remove the brown leaves or just leave them? Is it possible that the tree has a disease then would it spread from the already brown leaves?

    Attached Files:

  2. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Wih out going into too much detail - my feeling is that spider mites or fungus would affect the overall appearance on most of the plant at the same time. From the photos it looks to me as if the damage is spotty and that some of the growth still appears normal, and even healthy. So that would indicate targeted infestation.

    This looks very similar to Juniper tip moth damage - and in fact I Googled and found info on a Cypress tip moth that looks similar in damage. I won't go into the all the info here as you can easily Google for it. I am not sure if it is present in SoFlo (but there are several related "tip moths") - and at any rate it still appears to be "targeted" which indicates a "larger" pest like a larvae or beetle of some kind, and the treatment with Merit (imidichloprid) would be indicated for most of them, and helpful for a wide range of any sucking/eating insects that may be present. I use it it granular form for its ease of application, and longevity that way.

    And yes it can spread, so trimming off the affected stems may be advised.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  3. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    They need a Mediterranean climate. Its just too warm and wet here in the summer. This is very common in South Florida. They may look good for years, especially if getting some shading, but eventually will end up like yours. Juniper does the same thing. If it were mine, I'd rip it out and install a lush tropical looking plant that enjoys our climate.

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