The Arizona Cypress, scientifically known as the cupressus arizonica, is a species of cypress found in very specific places around the globe. The tree is native to such areas, as: southwestern New Mexico and Arizona, west Texas, and southern California. Specifically, the tree can be found within the Chisos Mountains, as well as the Sierra Juarez pine-oak forest of Mexico. The tree falls under the cupressaceae family line. It is believed that this variety of cypress is prehistoric, and existed over 10,000 years ago.

This average sized Arizona cypress normally reaches fifty to sixty feet in height, and fifteen to thirty inches in diameter. The spread of such a tree can reach up to thirty feet at full maturation. It can grow up to three feet per year, for its first three years. Its physical image is that of a red-brown bark, grayish leaves and cones that are often one inch in diameter. The cones begin to grow in fall of its second life season. They are often consumed by squirrels when on the tree and rodents after they fall.

The Arizona Cypress is prone to growing on dry lands, mountain slopes or the inner walls of deep canyons. The tree only requires approximately ten inches of water each year, which allows for its growth in desolate areas. It does require direct sunlight on a regular basis, which is why they grow easily in the southwest of the United States, as well as northern Mexico.

Today, the Arizona cypress is slowly dying in numbers. It is believed that the drought of 1996 put a strain on a large grouping of plants. Also, the cypress bark beetle is known to attack and weaken the limbs and trunks of cypress trees. The bark beetles lay eggs within the tree’s bark. After the larvae hatch, they tunnel into the tree, ruining its nutrient tubing and tissues. This quickens the death of the tree. Other enemies of this dry-earth creature are mistletoe and rust. Mistletoe, a parasite, with also slowly eat away at the tree’s nutrient system, killing it off within a short time span.

There are several environmental uses for the Arizona cypress tree. Although the actual timber existing within the tree has little value for building purposes, it is often used for craft woods. The entire tree has also been used as the desert Christmas tree in family’s homes. The tree is thick in branching, so it is often planted to divert heavy winds from natural tunnel areas. As it also has a sturdy root system and trunk, fence posts are created from the tree as corrals for cattle and horses.

The Arizona cypress has been around for years, and continues to grow in the vast deserts and harsh weathers of the south. With its multitude of natural uses the tree will continue to be used for southwest landscaping. Whether grown at home, or in the wild, this piece of nature contains a great deal of history.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit

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