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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 15, 2009

From: Richland, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Lemon cypress Goldcrest in Richland MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can the shrub lemon cypress survive a southern Michigan winter? If so, how does one care for it?

ANSWER:

Lemon cypress is a cultivar of  Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) called 'Goldcrest.' According to this USDA Plant Profile, the parent plant is endemic to California, growing nowhere else naturally but the Monterey Peninsula of California. The Growing Conditions of this parent plant are:

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Tremendously susceptible to a canker that kills the tree, especially if it is planted away from cool, coastal breezes. Tolerant of salt spray. Older trees are drought-tolerant.

In searching further for information on the cultivar, we learned that it is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, or can be grown indoors in a cool, sunny window. However, since it grows in an upright, conical shape with good yellow foliage and can get to be 30 ft. tall, you would need a pretty big house for that. Kalamazoo County, Michigan is in Zone 5b, with an average annual minimum temperature of -15 to -10 deg. F. Unless you have a greenhouse for wintering this plant over, or want to preserve it in a sunny indoor space, putting it out in the summer, we don't see how you can grow it there. 

Pictures of lemon cypress from Google.

 

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