What to do?

I've got a problem. It's this hinoki cypress (fernspray cypress?) -- Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides'.

It was a perfect choice 10 or so years ago when the bamboo was tiny and this space was mostly empty. The flattened evergreen foliage on curving branches looked so great! Unfortunately, things have changed.


The first problem isn't the main one: this plant is getting too big for its space. It's slow growing but will eventually reach 20' (6m) or more, and almost as wide. I already have to push branches out of the way when going down the stairs next to the bamboo, or duck down.

The primary issue with this plant though is obvious from every photo: the dieback of older foliage.

This happens every year, and was easy to take care of when the plant was small -- I'd just brush the crunchy brown stuff off.

Now that many of the branches are out of my reach though, this is a difficult and time-consuming task.

All of the green is toward the ends of the branches...

...which makes the middle -- especially when cleared of brown leaves -- very branchy.

Here's what it looked like when it was very small in 2008 just before the bamboo box was built:

So green, with a great foliage to branch ratio (even though it's kind of lost with everything else going on in that bed. Now though...


So I'm thinking that it might be time to get rid of this tree. If I do though, what to put in its place?

Plus, there are some shade lovers underneath it that took a while to establish...


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outlawgardener  – (May 23, 2018 at 9:32 AM)  

Difficult question. Would one of the yews work?

danger garden  – (May 23, 2018 at 10:22 AM)  

Not knowing what will work in your Zone (what is your Zone?) I'm no help with suggestions, but I say "out with it!"...life is too short to live with that kind of yuck.

Alan  – (May 23, 2018 at 2:43 PM)  

I should mention that something with bigger leaves would work best for contrast with the bamboo. I'm zone 6b I think, 6a to play it safe.

Alan  – (May 23, 2018 at 2:45 PM)  

I'm thinking about a Paulownia tomentosa that I've got in a pot. I'd chop it back regularly so I know it won't get too wide or tall. It's got big leaves too.

chavliness  – (May 24, 2018 at 7:09 PM)  

"...some shade lovers underneath..." that is the biggest problem: ending up with a mostly sunny bed that was planted with shade lovers... Paulownia tomentosa is gorgeous and could work, if you say it can take the regular chopping ;-)

Renee  – (May 24, 2018 at 10:26 PM)  

I'm no help with big leaved plants, but for the shade lovers, could you build a (temporary) shade structure until whatever you decide to plant gets big enough?

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