How To Prune False Cypress

Question From: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Q: We have what I believe to be a false cypress that is getting much taller that we would like. It has 5 main branches that come up all about 1/2 in in diameter. If we chop off the top of the shrub will it fill in with new growth to cover the mid-section? Can we trim it down any further on the sides without causing it to die? It is about 4 1/2 feet tall. Thanks

A: False Cyprus are often used as hedges, so yes you can cut off the tops and they should fill in. If you cut a branch making sure you have left green growth it will push out new growth. To cover the stub cut back the branches just above a lateral branch or a tuft of foliage. Searing the sides will skinny the shape and make the growth more dense. Always remember a bare branch will not grow new foliage. So take it slow and soon you will become Edward Scissorhands. Best Nancy