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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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Sunday - May 22, 2011

From: St. Charles, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Yellowing foliage on a lemon cypress from St. Charles MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently received a lemon cypress tree as a gift. After about a month we transplanted it outside and the foliage turned from a light green to a yellow color. Is this normal? The tree doesn't appear to be dead because I can grab the foliage and lightly pull and it doesn't come off and feels pliable. The location that its in probably gets 8-10 hours of sun a day. Is that too much?

ANSWER:

The Lemon Cypress is a cultivar called Goldcrest, or Golden Crest, of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress). You can read more about the tree from Floridata.com. Here are some intructions for outdoor care from ShootGardening and you can find care instructions for indoor Cupressus macrocarpa at indoor-plant-care.com and from the TopiaryShop.

Be sure and read all of our webpage on this plant by following the first link above. According to that information, it only grows natively in California, on the coast. We have no idea if it will even survive in your location in Missouri. We suspect that the yellow foliage is perfectly normal, as the leaves do turn yellow, ergo, the name 'Goldcrest.' In terms of the amount of sun that is appropriate, here are the Growing Conditions from our webpage on that plant. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun a day.

Growing Conditions

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.

Pictures of Lemon Cypress from Google

 

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