I recently (4 weeks ago) got two Italian Cypress trees. Location: Bay Area, California.

Sadly they turned fairly brown:

enter image description here

From my research pests are the most likely cause but I am wondering if it is the transplant shock: It’s not the optimal time of the year, I might have destroyed root when digging them out, I may have made mistakes watering.

It’s very dry here, no rain. I put one full bucket of water under each tree every evening and once I also added fertilizer. I have missed a couple of days to water when I wasn’t home (especially some hot days).

Do these still have hope? Is it worth wasting 2 buckets water/day or won’t they recover anyway?

  • 3
    Transplant shock is highly likely. Don't fertilize a tree that's recently transplanted - likely more harm than good there. Impossible to say if they will recover, or not. Typically if you lost a lot of roots you want to consider pruning back the top, so the roots remaining are not trying to support the whole top that the full set of undamaged roots did.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 0:39
  • 1
    Shade your plants for a few weeks to recover. They'll take full sun soon, but not yet. And you did plant them right against the fence, with no room to grow between them, either. Just saying. Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 0:49
  • One major question for me is whether I should continue watering them and if yes, is one entire bucket per tree late in the evening good?
    – divB
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 5:52
  • @YosefBaskin How would you shade them (without replanting them again)? There’s just sun all the time. Best I could imagine would be covering with a tarp but that creates even more glass house feel
    – divB
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 5:53
  • 2
    You can use stakes and shadecloth (not a tarp) to provide temporary shade.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


These plants are done as far as looking nice anytime soon. I don't think it is transplant shock. It looks like they dried out and given the record breaking temperatures this seems likely.

Notes for replanting:

  • They should be planted two or three feet from the fence
  • Check the recommended spacing but three feet is typical
  • Planting in the spring or fall is recommended if you have hot summers
  • Do not fertilize for at least a month or more after planting. Plants ship from the nursery ready to go and fertilizer will only induce growth all over at the expense of root growth
  • If you do plant in the summer heat water the planting area before.
  • Watch for grading that allows the water to run off dry soil
  • Use the local soil, do not amend with peat or coco or purchased topsoil
  • Do mulch to create a ring around the base of the plant
  • In hot seasons water deeply and thoroughly. Check the root ball to see it is wet.
  • 2
    What a thorough and clear recipe. Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 13:32

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