Italian cypress OK near lawn?


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Old 06-16-08, 12:11 PM
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Italian cypress OK near lawn?

Hello, I need some advice from the experts out there...we bought a few italian cypress trees over the weekend that we are planning to plant between us and our neighbor, but my lovely neighbor expressed his concern over them. He has some kind of juniper trees in his backyard (not sure which variety, maybe the california one) and he says his gardener told him that the roots of those junipers release some kind of acid in the ground that kills the lawn around them, so he's worried that the cypress would do the same. Now I haven't heard of such a thing before, but I'm far from being an expert so I gave him the benefit of a doubt. I know that the cypress is a different species, but I want to make sure we're not gonna get into years of arguments so I want to do my homework first.
So my question is: Is it OK to plant the italian cypress near (2 feet from) the edge of the lawn? And just for my curiousity what is the root system of the italian cypress like?
Thanks you so much in advance,
 
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Old 06-16-08, 01:15 PM
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The Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirensis) is inaccurately called Italian or Tuscan in the U. S. This cypress is drought tolerant because it has a deep root system. Trees with deep roots tend not to be such a problem for growing turf around them because they are not competing for moisture and nutrients with grass at the soil surface.

http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening...pervirens.html

"He has some kind of juniper trees in his backyard (not sure which variety, maybe the california one) and he says his gardener told him that the roots of those junipers release some kind of acid in the ground that kills the lawn around them." What is the gardener's background? Is the lawn around the junipers dead?

Junipers do not release acid. Soil can be on the acidic or alkaline side of pH. Junipers can grow in acid or alkaline soil. Shallow rooted plants compete for moisture and nutrients with grass, and the grass usually loses the competition. Thus, it is best to mulch areas where grass struggles to grow.

Black walnut trees are toxic to other plants. They release juglone. Some plant species are more juglone tolerant than others. Does the neighbor have a black walnut tree?

If there are other plants that are toxic to other plants, then I have not yet encountered them in my limited gardening experience. There are many juniper varieties, also members of cypress family, but none release acid to the best of my knowledge.
 
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Old 06-16-08, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole
The Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirensis) is drought tolerant because it has a deep root system. Trees with deep roots tend not to be such a problem for growing turf around them because they are not competing for moisture and nutrients with grass at the soil surface.
Thanks, that's what I thought, good to hear it to reinforce.

What is the gardener's background? Is the lawn around the junipers dead?
I don't know his gardener, I saw his lawn and it has some drier spots, and according to him that's because the juniper's roots are too close to the surface. But whatever the reason is I just wanted to make him realize that the Italian/Mediterranean cypresses do not have such a surface-close root system.

Does the neighbor have a black walnut tree?
No.

There are many juniper varieties, also members of cypress family, but none release acid to the best of my knowledge.
That's good to hear. Thanks for all the info.
 
 

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