Lawson’s cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Today we come with a rather large and impressive type of tree that comes from western North America. It is the Lawson Cypress. Its scientific name is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana and it is also known by other names such as Oregon Cedar and Port Oxford Cedar. It belongs to the Cupressaceae family and is capable of reaching 60 meters in height if its care and conditions are ideal. It is in the same group as the so-called False cypress because it has some similar characteristics.

If you want to know more about this tall and impressive tree, here we will explain everything in great detail.

Main features

It is an evergreen and monoecious tree. If conditions allow it, it reaches up to 60 meters in height. It has the bark of its trunk of a cracked and brown color. In general, it has quite dense and abundant branches so they provide a lot of shade and even a cool environment. The branches closest to the ground are longer than the taller ones. Therefore, we can say that it has a pyramidal style bearing.

Its leaves are squamiform and are placed on the branches. They are darker green on the top and lighter on the underside. It is a perfect tree to plant in a meadow, as it will provide good shade and a perfect space for a picnic or spending the day with the family.

It has globe-shaped cones that vary between green or white and bluish colors when young. As they develop and reach maturity, they turn reddish-brown in color. These cones have between 8 and 10 scales and have a club shape. The general growth of this tree is medium to slow. This means that, although the conditions are ideal, you will not notice that the tree grows.

We will always see it with the green leaves, since they are perennial. This tree does not need pruning, so, as we will see later, its care and maintenance are greatly reduced. Something that you may miss when you are around a Lawson Cypress is the birds. Since these animals are not very interested in the fruits of this tree, it hardly attracts fauna. It is true that some species perch to rest and shelter among the density of the leaves.


Among the main uses that Chamaecyparis lawsoniana has, we see that it is ornamentation in natural areas, but it is also widely used to make noise screens and hedges. Due to the large number of branches and its high density, this tree is quite useful to avoid noise in busier areas and to provide pleasant shade.

Lawson’s cypress crops that are made with specimens of a smaller size are perfect for decorating in rockeries and smaller gardens. In terms of economic use, its wood has a characteristic smell that resembles that of lemon. Wood is widely used and demanded for its long life. It is used mainly in the construction of ships, in carpentry both indoors and outdoors and in the manufacture of sleepers. In our country it is used for the reforestation of trees that produce wood for trade.

The roots of this tree are not very deep common. This helps that we do not have to continually monitor the size of the roots to see if it affects any other plant or plants that are around such as with the infrastructure that can crack.

The smaller varieties are perfect to also be used as a wind barrier apart from noise. There are many who take advantage of the dwarf varieties to make small bonsai.

Caring for Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

We have already mentioned that they do not need much care, but always some requirements must be met so that the conditions are ideal for their growth and health. The first thing to consider is the location. It needs an exposure to semi-shade, since too much direct sun can damage its leaves. The humidity of the environment must be high. This part is not entirely complicated since the very density of the branches and leaves that it has helps to maintain a high degree of temperature.

The fact that it needs high humidity makes it ideal for living in coastal areas. As for the soil, it should have a somewhat white texture. The ideal combination for a perfect soil is that it has 1/3 sand and 1/3 peat. In this way, we guarantee that it has a soft texture but it does not fail us in the amount of organic matter it needs to incorporate nutrients.

To plant it, we must do it both in spring and autumn since the temperatures are medium and high and it can develop without problems of drought, heat waves or night frosts. As for irrigation, it only needs to be watered once a week. We must bear in mind when watering that we must not flood the soil. If we have respected the sand and peat requirements of the soil where we plant it, we are probably making sure that it has good drainage. If the irrigation water accumulates, we will have problems.

Maintenance and reproduction

As we have mentioned before, it is not a plant that requires a lot of maintenance. It only needs to be paid once in the fall and monthly in the spring. For the autumn fertilizer we will use an organic fertilizer that helps to grow and take advantage of the time. On the other hand, during the spring we will use a mineral fertilizer.

This tree does not need pruning of any kind, so there is no need to worry about maintenance.

If we want to reproduce it, it can be by seeds, but it is a rather slow and complicated process. The best thing to do is to buy the specimens already grown or in the process of growth directly and transplant them into your garden or the space you want.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the care that Chamaecyparis lawsoniana needs.




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