I have six golden cypress shrubs planted next to my sidewalk. Over the winter they got piled with snow and the lower branches have broken off. Will they grow new ones this season?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Susan in Wisconsin: I assume that when you say golden cypress you are referring to a Chamaecyparis, commonly known as false cypress. Among these conifers there are a few different species but hundreds of named cultivars. The most common landscape plants are known for their chartreuse-like color. Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is probably the most available sun-loving evergreen for home gardeners. Are these new plantings or older established ones? If these evergreens went into dormancy without sufficient moisture they could have become brittle and more susceptible to breakage. I can’t give you a definitive answer in terms of new growth but unfortunately, once evergreens lose their foliage or entire branches they typically do not put on new growth. For now it will be a waiting game. As they come out of dormancy make sure they receive sufficient moisture, and it would not hurt to feed them, assuming they are not stressed for any other reason. Adding a thin layer of mulch, no more than 2 inches, will help keep the moisture in. If they do not put on new growth this spring then they will not likely do so at all. Depending on the severity of the breakage and the aesthetics they may need to be replaced, but give them time to break dormancy and if they do not look better by early summer then make your decision about keeping or removing them.