Arizona Cypress Tree

I. General Information

  • Common name: Arizona Cypress
  • Scientific name/Botanical name: Cupressus arizonica
  • Family name: Cupressaceae
  • Origin: USA (central Arizona)
  • Growth Rate: Medium rate, with height increases of 13–24″ per year. Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Species: C. arizonica
  • Growing Zones: Hardiness Zones 7–9
  • Mature Height: 40–50′ 
  • Mature Width: 25–30′
  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Uses: Plant Arizona cypress in windbreaks and shelterbelts, for wildlife habitat, landscape ornamental trees and Christmas trees. The wood has little commercial value as timber, but when seasoned properly, can provide durable fenceposts. Trees are very drought tolerant and are planted on slopes in its native range in order to prevent soil erosion. 

II. Identification

  • Leaf: Small and scalelike, gray-green to blue-green, closely pressed to the stems, similar in appearance to juniper leaves. 
  • Bloom period: Spring/Summer
  • Bark: Gray, deeply furrowed into broad, scaly ridges.
  • Fruit: Woody cones to 1″ (25 mm) in diameter

III. Description

Arizona Cypress is a native evergreen conifer tree that grows to a height of 40 to 75 feet. It grows in an upright, pyramidal shape, but can be shrubby in areas subject to wildfires. Arizona cypress grows quickly and is long-lived.

Arizona Cypress Tree

Planting Guidelines

Plant Arizona cypress in well-drained soil. While it will not tolerate poorly drained soil or a high water table, it will need supplemental water during establishment. For windbreak plantings, it can serve as the windward row or as a dense single-row windbreak. Use 8 to 16 foot within-row spacing (Wildermuth and Bruce).


Arizona cypress generally requires little maintenance. For desert landscape plantings, deep watering at least every other week is necessary during the growing season to prevent water stress.

Pests and Potential Problems

Cypress bark beetles can kill or damage Arizona cypress trees, especially those weakened by water stress. Foliage blight caused by Cercospora sequoiae may limit commercial production in some areas. Seedlings are susceptible to damping-off fungus.