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The Arizona cypress is a medium to large evergreen tree, slowly growing 35-50 ft. tall. Foliage is comprised of pale blue-green to yellowish, scale-like leaves; coarsely shredded red-brown bark covers mature trunks and branches.

This southwestern native is adapted to heat, cold, drought, wind and aridity. It has proven well adapted to desert landscapes and shows great promise for success in Inland Empire gardens and landscapes. It has proven to be well suited as a focal element and specimen tree that is very tough and hardy. Several attractive cultivars can be found at various nurseries including: C. a. 'Compacta' has a low growing form with a conical shape; C. a.'Glauca' is a selection with silvery-gray foliage; and C. a.'Pyramidalis' is a smaller tree with a symmetrical form.

Water Needs

The Arizona cypress is highly adapted to sunny and warm climate areas across the Inland Empire where it can be sustained with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. Periodic deep water in summer is recommended; this will sustain good foliage character. The chart below provides a baseline irrigation schedule for this species. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree, Native
Foliage Character: Coniferous
Habit: Upright, Narrow, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Slow, Moderate
Height: 35 ft. - 50 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 15 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green, Blue green, Blue gray
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, Cold hardy, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Screening, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, Commercial spaces, Background plant


Very low maintenance plant. Inorganic mulch or organic mulch of 1-2 inches under canopy, but held away from trunk and root crown are ideal. Very little pruning is needed, except to remove drooping branches as they occur (rarely). Be sure to plant in a space that can accommodate the plant's mature width and height as they will be a pain to continuously cut back otherwise. They are often planted too close to walls or buildings. Best planted fall through spring (5, D).



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