Italian Cypress Root System

tuffloud1June 1, 2010

I have tried to find a definte answer everywhere with no luck. How deep do Italian Cypress roots go?

I dug a 150 foot long trench along my fence line around my entire yard where I buried a wall of 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth. There are 9 newly planted 15 gallon Italian Cypress trees along the trench where the galvanized mesh will be buried. Will the trees be alright with the mesh only a few inches away from the root ball on one side? The Mesh is about 24 inches deep (2 feet). I would think such a hardy drought resistant tree would find away through 1/4 inch mesh.

Someone told me that the roots will be weak on one side and will blow over when mature on that side.

Please help!!

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

There is no definite answer because there are many variables (soil type, soil moisture, etc). I can tell you that about 90% of the tree's roots will usually be in the top two or three feet of soil.

Did you put the hardware cloth in to fence out pests?

The roots will go through the mesh, but will be girdled as they grow. I certainly wouldn't recommend the situation you describe!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:32PM
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Yes, I did it to keep gophers out of my yard. These are small gophers and all the holes I've found don't go more than 12 inches down.

I spoke with a couple local nurseries and they both said that Italian Cypress roots are fibrous and I have nothing to worry about. They said the roots would go right through the mesh and if they expand they will simply break the mesh.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 12:34AM
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My 2 cents : The mesh should be no closer than the 1/2 the typical spread of the tree. Would recommend you cut the mesh to only 12" deep for several feet by each tree, most likely the roots will then grow under it and it will still keep out your gophers (maybe). Doubt the roots will break the mesh, more likely the mesh will cut the roots and certainly stunt them per Brandon's comments. Moving the trees back would be a solution, but assume you don't have room for that.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:25AM
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I appreciate your input. I've already buried all the mesh. I think the trees will find a way and be fine. Nature isn't perfect and tree roots have to go around lots of obsticles naturaly, rock, etc. The mesh itself isn't going to last forever and will certainly start to corrode after years.

As I said the nurseries said the trees would be fine and everyone else I've talked to (non internet based) said that nature will find a way.

I'm going to leave everything as is. Thanks again for your input.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 11:42AM
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The tree(s) may develop root problems and like someone told you they can potentially fall over or not have any foliage on that side or have a poor appearance.
The trees will probably look fine for a few years until that mesh becomes a problem.
Italian cypress and related species are drought tolerant but you can't expect them to be drought tolerant without a well developed root system.
There may be natural obstacles like rocks but this isn't a natural obstacle and don't bet on it biodegrading in the soil. By the time that happens, we'll all be long gone.

I'm not surprised the nurseries tell you the trees will be fine because they're trying to sell you the trees and will say whatever it takes. The people onthe internet like myself really don't know what you're trying to do because we can't see the mesh or really understand what you're talking about. But what I can say with certainty is nature doesn't always find a way.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 2:27PM
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I'm failing to understand how FIBROUS roots will be blocked/hurt by 1/4 inch openings for 2 feet down. The openings are larger that the roots. The roots can go straight through without any problems.
As I've explained, I am keeping gophers out of my yard. That is why I dug a trench 2 feet deep and inserted the mesh.

The nurseries aren't trying to sell me anything, I already purchased them and they have a 1 year guarantee. And the guy I talked to could care less about selling/returning, I know the guy personally.

So anyway, I'd appreciate your take on why 1/4 inch openings for 2 feet down will cause problems with fibrous roots.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 2:47PM
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