Cupressus lusitanica is an evergreen tree, 35 m high, with a dense, conical crown. Native to Central America.
C. lusitanica was introduced in Kenya in 1910 and has since become an important industrial and plantation crop. And is planted in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania and Uganda .
Trees produce poles after 10 years and general-purpose timber after 20 years. They need to be protected from fire and rodent attack. C. lusitanica is a good source of firewood. The timber is white, saws cleanly and has straight fine grain; it is a source of construction wood and pulp wood and is used for furniture, poles and posts.
Thrives in a well-drained loamy or peaty soil. Very tolerant of hot dry conditions. Tolerates poor sandy soils but is then more subject to insect damage in a succession of dry seasons. Requires a sunny position. Prefers a pH of 6 or lower. Somewhat tender in Britain, at least in the north of the country, it also seems to be short-lived.
Cultivated as a timber crop in China. Cones can remain closed on the tree for a number of years, opening after the heat of a forest fire to scatter their seeds which then germinate and grow rapidly in the ashes of the fire.
Plants are subject to injury by the wind. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The crushed foliage has the scent of grass.
Information sources: www.pfaf.org, www.greenresources.no.
Genus - Cupressus
Species - Lusitanica
Variety - Benthamii
Common name - Bentham Cypress
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 7 - 10
Height - 35 m
Plant type - Medium Tree
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought tolerant, average water
Landscape uses - Featured plant
Leaf / Flower color - Gray Green / --
1. Set the cypress seeds into a bowl of water to soak for approximately 24 hours.
2. Put approximately 1 cup of peat moss into a zip-top bag. Pour in 2 to 3 tsp. of water into the bag, then add the cypress tree seeds to the contents of the bag. Squeeze out any excess air from the bag as you seal it closed.
3. Put the bag containing the seeds into a cold location. The temperature needs to be between +1-+4C (35-40F). Leave the bag in the cold location for 30 days. Check on the contents of the bag every 3 to 4 days to make sure the peat moss remains moist, but not sodden wet. Spritz the peat moss with water as needed.
4. Remove the bag from their cold storage location. Put seed-starting compost into 10 cm (4") pots. Tamp down the soil well. Pour water into each of the pots until the soil is visibly well dampened.
5. Plant two to three cypress seeds per 10 cm (4") pot. Press them into the soil to a depth of between 3 mm (1/8") using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a 3 mm (1/8") layer of seed-starting compost over the seeds.
6. Set the 10 cm (4") pots into a watering tray, or similar container. Set the tray in a warm, brightly lit area. Try to provide a temperature between +18-+22C (65-70F). Keep the tray away from direct sunlight, but try and provide about 6 to 8 hours of light daily. The soil in the pots needs to be kept on the moist side; add water to the tray as needed. Germination of seeds can take as long as 1 to 2 months.
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