Cupressus lusitanica (Cypress)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 19,000
Minimum purchase: 100 g
C. lusitanica occurs naturally from
southern Mexico to Guatemala and Honduras. It is an evergreen tree, reaching
heights of 25 to 30 m and diameters (DBH) of up to 120 cm, with a straight stem,
slightly grooved at the base, a pyramidal crown that expands at maturity,
producing pendulous branches.
The most common use of cypress is
in windbreaks, at distances of 2 m between trees, but it is also grown in pure plantations
at 3x3 or 4x4 m. In some countries it is the preferred species for Christmas
trees, and for this objective it is planted at shorter spacing, with rotations of 1-2
years. The wood is reddish yellow with visible rings, light to medium density.
The green wood has a very characteristic and pleasant aromatic odor. The grain
is straight, fine texture, shiny surface. It is used for interior and exterior
constructions, fine furniture, packaging boxes, pencils, handicrafts, poles,
and for its resistance to marine borers, it has been used in ships and marine
constructions. A disadvantage is the large number of knots; however, in recent
years this has made it a wood of great demand for houses, in particular for
Within its natural range it grows
at altitudes of 1800 to 2600 masl, with mean annual rainfall of 1500-2500 mm
per year and a mean temperatures greater than 12ºC. For Christmas trees, it can
be grown at lower altitudes (down to 600 masl).
It prefers soils of volcanic
origin, humid, deep and well drained, clay loam to sandy loam, but it tolerates
infertile, calcareous and sandy soils.
Seeds and nursery
It is recommended to place the
seeds in water, and after a few minutes, remove the impurities and all the vain
seeds, which float. Those of the bottom can be left in running water at room
temperatures for 12-24 hours, just before sowing. For the seedbed, it is
recommended to use a loose substrate such as river sand, well washed and
disinfected. The seed should be distributed evenly or in rows separated by 3
cm, sowing superficially. Germination begins after 10-30 days and transplanting
is done when the seedlings reach 3-8 cm in height. The root is usually very
long, so it must be pruned to about 3 cm in length. When transplanting, be sure
to make a hole deep enough in the substrate to avoid curving up of the roots.
Shade should be provided for the first 2-3 weeks after transplanting, for
instance using shade clothing (saran) 50%. In new nurseries, it is convenient
to mix the substrate of the containers with soil from adult cypress forests, to
favor inoculation with mycorrhizae. The plants will be ready for field planting
after 5-6 months, when they have a height of 25-30 cm. A couple of weeks before
planting out in the field it is recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the
lignification of the stems.
It is a species of low to medium
growth rate. In plantations it rarely shows mean annual increments higher than
1.5 m in height and 1.5 cm in diameter. Under such conditions, it is expected
to obtain about 230 trees per hectare with a mean diameter of 38 cm at the end
of 30 years.
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