Can Italian cypress planted in container tolerate 125F summer

albukhamMarch 27, 2012

I have a 4 feet Italian cypress planted in a container. The summer months where I live is very hot as temperature reaches up to 125F.

My questions is, would the tree survive this high temperature? Can it survive if I move it indoor near a window for 2 months or so until the heat pass away?

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I don't know for sure, but these do seem to be very tough trees. Moving it indoors in the summer may actually be worse for it though, and I'm guessing that with plenty of water it might just be OK outside in those temps. The related native cottonwoods of course don't seem to be bothered by extreme heat as long as they have plenty of water.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for the advice. How about if I move it to a full shade area in my backyard?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:55AM
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I would think it would depend upon how large the tree is; how large the container is; and what material the container is made of. Hopefully, your container is not terra cotta or ceramic as both of those are cooking utensil materials. If your container is wood, foam or concrete, these insulate the soil/root ball much more efficiently than many other materials. Other, less efficient insulators can be improved by wrapping their interiors with either several layers of bubble wrap or thin sheets of styro foam. You'll effectively be insulating them as you do your roof and house walls, creating an "ice chest" out of them. The air layers created by the wrapping material will help prevent the heat transfer from the pot sides to the soil ball and roots.

How root bound the tree is plays a significant part, too. The more soil you have between the roots and pot sides, the better the crown and roots of the tree are insulated. Soil can be an excellent insulator, but root material pressed right against the pot interior absorb the heat from the pot material, literally cooking them. The larger the pot, the longer it takes for that heat to be transmitted all the way through the soil ball, too.

I think when the highest heat hits, if you can shade the pot to prevent it from cooking from direct sun, the tree should make it OK with appropriate water. I would definitely wash the upper parts of it when I water to rinse out the dust and debris and reduce any chances of spider mites which can stress the tree, reducing its chances. Water on the foliage and limbs can also help rehydrate the plant. I can't suggest how frequently you should water nor rinse out the tree, but I would do it in the evening so chances of being burned by sun are reduced.

Once the worst of the heat passes, as long as the potted tree seems fine where it's grown, you should be able to move it back to its former position. I wouldn't shade the foliage of the tree. Though it will tolerate quite a bit of shade, growing much more slowly in reduced light, it will alter the ability to tolerate more intense, direct sun, so you'll need to gradually harden it off to the hotter, brighter sun. That can be more difficult than just shading the pot from the direct sun, and may easily result in foliage burn. Though your conditions are significantly more severe than mine here in Los Angeles, the issue of overheating the potted root ball and gradually acclimating shaded foliage to brighter, more direct sun, are common in any hotter area. I hope it helps. Kim

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Good advice from Kim. The ones in the ground survive 110F over here quite well. Suspect they will survive your 125 F temps. with proper watering.
Keeping the pot shaded or else insulating it is probably the key thing after watering.
Let us know what happened after summer.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 2:15PM
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