Why Is My Lemon Cypress Tree Turning Brown? 5 Reasons & Fix

The lush green foliage and energizing lemon aroma of lemon cypress trees make them beloved. Brown leaves, on the other hand, are a symptom of underlying health problems, therefore it may be depressing to see these lovely trees grow them. It is essential for properly addressing and resolving these difficulties to comprehend the main causes of the browning of lemon cypress trees. We will examine the numerous causes of a lemon cypress tree turning brown in this post, such as over watering, inadequate lighting, nutritional deficiencies, wind drying, a lack of water, and insect infestations. Understanding these causes will enable us to arm ourselves with the information and methods required to revive the vigor and vibrancy of lemon cypress trees.

Why Is My Lemon Cypress Tree Turning Brown?

The primary reasons for lemon cypress trees turning brown include frequent watering, insufficient light, nutrient deficiencies, wind drying, lack of water, and pest infestations. Insufficient light may cause leaf discolouration, while overwatering can cause root rot. The leaves may become brown due to nutrient shortages, such as nitrogen. Windy circumstances may cause the tree to become dry, and a lack of water can cause the leaves to become dry and browned. In addition to browning, several pests may harm the tree’s circulation and health. Careful maintenance may help avoid and treat the problem of browning in lemon cypress trees. This maintenance includes balanced watering, enough sunshine, fertilizer supplements, wind protection, frequent watering, and insect management.

Primary Reasons for Lemon Cypress Tree Turning Brown

1. Frequent watering

Overwatering is a common mistake that can contribute to the lemon cypress tree turning brown. When the roots are consistently wet, they may start to rot, which makes it harder for the tree to absorb water and nutrients. The leaves may therefore turn brown as a consequence.

It’s crucial to monitor the soil’s moisture content before watering in order to prevent overwatering. If the soil feels damp when you stick your finger about an inch into it, wait to water until the top inch of soil has dried up. To avoid root rot and preserve healthy foliage, it’s essential to strike the correct balance between moisture and dryness.

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2. Insufficient light

Sun-loving plants like lemon cypress trees need plenty of light to flourish to their full potential. Lack of light may cause etiolation, in which the tree weakens and spreads out, resulting in the lemon cypress tree going brown and losing its leaves. If you see the leaves on your lemon cypress turning brown, it can mean that it isn’t getting enough light.

Consider moving the tree to a location with at least six hours of direct sunshine each day to solve this problem. Replace the natural light with artificial grow lights made exclusively for indoor plants if relocating the tree is not an option. Put the grow lights 12 to 18 inches above the tree, and give it at least six hours each day of artificial light.

3. Nutrient deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can affect the health of lemon cypress trees and lead to lemon cypress brown tips. Discoloration of the leaves occurs when key nutrients like nitrogen are deficient, which compromises the tree’s general health. Particularly, nitrogen is essential for the growth of foliage, and a lack of it may cause leaves to turn yellow or brown.

Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer designed especially for evergreen trees to treat nutritional deficits. During the spring and summer growth seasons, apply the fertilizer as directed. By doing this, you can be sure that your lemon cypress tree will get the nutrients it needs to stay green and develop healthily.

4. Wind drying

Strong winds may cause significant moisture loss from the leaves, causing lemon cypress trees to turn brown and dry. Lemon cypress trees like a somewhat damp atmosphere. Your lemon cypress may be more prone to browning if it is located in an area with often high winds.

Use fences, hedges, or other plants to provide a windbreak to shield your lemon cypress from wind drying. This may contribute to the formation of a microclimate that holds moisture and lessens the effects of high winds. The leaves won’t dry out too much if you regularly water the tree or put a humidifier nearby to raise humidity levels.

5. Lack of water

While overwatering may be harmful, underwatering can also cause lemon cypress trees to turn brown. Especially during dry spells or hot weather, these trees need frequent irrigation to be suitably hydrated. Lack of water may cause the leaves to dry up and turn brown.

Make sure the soil is regularly wet but not saturated by keeping an eye on its moisture levels. Make sure to water deeply, letting the water to properly reach the root zone. Mulching around the tree’s base may also aid in retaining moisture and slowing evaporation.

6. Pests

The health of lemon cypress trees may suffer greatly from pest infestations, which can result in lemon cypress tips turning brown. Pests such as spider mites, aphids, and scale insects may eat on the tree’s sap, depriving it of moisture and vital nutrients.

Keep an eye out for pest infestation on your lemon cypress, such as yellowed leaves, tiny webs, or the appearance of tiny insects. If pests are found, you should treat the tree with the proper insecticidal sprays or natural remedies to get rid of the infestation. In extreme circumstances, consulting an arborist or horticulture can be essential.

Lemon Cypress: An Overview

Take a closer look at this unusual plant before we explore the main causes of the lemon cypress tree turning brown. The lemon cypress, or Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest,’ is a species of evergreen conifer in the family Cupressaceae. When touched or injured, its vivid green leaf releases a crisp lemon perfume that fills any garden or interior area with a wonderful fragrance.

The lemon cypress is a popular option for landscaping and container gardening because to its columnar design and small size. It enhances patios, gardens, and interior spaces with elegance and a hint of nature. If given the right care and attention, lemon cypress trees may flourish both indoors and outside.

The typical height and width of lemon cypress trees are 6 to 10 feet and 2 to 3 feet, respectively. They may be trimmed to keep them in the proper form and size and have a modest growth rate. Although they typically need little care, some requirements must be followed to avoid problems like fading leaves.

To maintain the health of lemon cypress trees and avoid leaf browning, it is vital to understand the fundamental maintenance procedures. Let’s go further into these care procedures.

Why Is My Lemon Cypress Tree Turning Brown?

How Do You Take Care of a Lemon Cypress Tree?

In order to maintain the health and vitality of lemon cypress trees, proper care and upkeep are essential. By attending to their particular requirements, you may stop browning and advance the tree’s general health. Let’s examine the crucial elements of lemon cypress tree maintenance:


An essential part of taking care of lemon cypress trees is watering them. These trees need constant hydration, but it’s crucial to avoid overwatering since it might cause root rot.

  • Depending on the location, lemon cypress trees often need watering once or twice each week. But it’s also important to take into account other elements like weather and soil drainage. To avoid either overwatering or underwatering, adjust your watering plan appropriately.
  • Check the soil’s moisture content prior to watering your lemon cypress tree. About an inch deep, press your finger into the ground. If it seems damp, hold off on watering until the top inch of soil has dried off. Try to maintain a constant moisture level in the soil that is not wet.
  • Deep Watering: When watering, give the soil a good, deep soak to promote strong root growth. Make sure the water gets all the way down to the root zone so the roots can properly absorb moisture. This encourages deeper root development and inhibits shallow root formation.
  • Mulching: To assist conserve moisture, control soil temperature, and prevent weed development, spread a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree. Additionally, as it decomposes, mulching provides organic matter to the soil, improving the soil’s general health.


For lemon cypress trees to grow and thrive, the right lighting conditions are crucial. These trees benefit from strong, direct sunshine and may brown if they don’t get enough of it.

  • Lemon cypress trees need at least six hours of direct sunshine each day to grow and flourish. Make sure to place your tree where it will get enough of sunshine. Place the tree next to a south-facing window if you’re growing it inside to get the most sunshine.
  • Supplemental Lighting: Add artificial grow lights to situations where there is insufficient natural sunshine. Make your selection from full-spectrum grow lights intended for indoor plants. Give the tree at least six hours of artificial light each day by positioning the lights 12 to 18 inches above the tree.


For lemon cypress trees to thrive and stay healthy, the appropriate soil conditions are essential. To avoid soggy circumstances that might cause root rot, the soil should drain efficiently.

  • Lemon cypress trees like soil types that vary in pH from 6.0 to 7.0, which is slightly acidic to neutral. To prevent soggy situations that might injure the roots, make sure the soil has proper drainage.
  • Amendments to the soil: If your soil is thick or has poor drainage, think about adding organic matter, such compost or peat moss, to increase the capacity of the soil’s drainage system. This improves the soil’s structure and encourages the development of stronger roots.


For the healthy development of lemon cypress trees, proper fertilization supplies the essential nutrients. Browning leaves and a general deterioration in tree health may be caused by nutrient shortages.

  • Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that has been specially developed for evergreen trees. These fertilizers provide a blend of vital elements that support the general health and development of plants. Observe the application rates and frequency recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  • Apply fertilizer while the tree is actively developing, which is in the spring and summer. This guarantees that the tree gets the nutrients it needs for leaf growth and guards against nutritional shortages.
  • Refrain from overfertilizing: This might cause nutritional imbalances and root burn. To avoid fertilizer coming into direct touch with the roots, use the correct amount and avoid putting it too near to the trunk.


Despite being able to withstand a broad variety of temperatures, lemon cypress trees prefer moderate temperatures. Extreme temperature swings may stress the tree and make the leaves turn brown.

  • Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 are suitable for lemon cypress trees. However, they prefer temperatures between 50°F and 70°F (10°C to 21°C), but they may survive in temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C).
  • Providing Protection from Extreme Temperatures: In areas with harsh winters or sweltering summers, give your lemon cypress tree protection. By utilizing windbreaks, burlap coverings, or positioning the tree in a protected area, you may protect it from brisk winds and frost.


Lemon cypress trees benefit from regular trimming to maintain their size, shape, and general look. Additionally, pruning increases air circulation, lowers the danger of illness, and gets rid of dead or ill branches that might cause browning.

  • When the lemon cypress tree is dormant, in late winter or early spring, prune it. As the temperature warms, this enables the tree to recuperate and begin new growth.
  • Selective Pruning: To remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches, use clean, sharp pruning tools. Additionally, you may prune to shape the tree, but be careful not to prune too much otherwise the tree may become weak.

You may increase the lifetime and health of your lemon cypress tree by according to these maintenance instructions. This will also stop the leaves from turning brown. To keep the tree at the height of health and beauty, keep a close eye on it, deal with any problems as soon as they arise, and modify your care procedures as necessary.

Frequently Asked questions

How do you keep lemon cypress green?

It is necessary to follow certain maintenance procedures to keep lemon cypress trees healthy and green:

  1. Lemon Cypress trees like direct sunshine, so give them plenty of it. Make sure kids get six hours or more of sunshine each day. If planted inside, put them next to a south-facing window or use grow lights that are artificial.
  2. Water properly: Give lemon cypress trees frequent waterings, letting the soil get just a little bit dry in between. To avoid root rot, avoid overwatering. Put your finger into the soil to determine the moisture level. When the top inch seems dry, add water.
  3. A well-draining soil must be present since lemon cypress trees love it. Use a potting mixture that encourages adequate drainage or add organic matter to the planting area soil.
  4. Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer made specifically for evergreen trees throughout the active growth season. Follow the application rate recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  5. Protect from Harsh Winds: Keep lemon cypress trees away from harsh winds, which may dry up the leaves. To build a wall, use windbreaks like fences or hedges.

What does a dead lemon cypress look like?

A dead lemon cypress tree displays distinct signs:

  1. Complete Browning: The tree’s whole body, including its leaves, becomes a uniform shade of brown or dries up.
  2. Foliage that is Lifeless and Brittle: The leaves become lifeless and brittle, losing their green hue and readily breaking off when touched.
  3. No Signs of Growth: A dead tree doesn’t sprout buds or branches, for example.
  4. Lack of Moisture: As a result of a lack of moisture absorption, the branches and twigs become dry and brittle.
  5. Rot and decay: In severe situations, the trunk and branches may exhibit rot and decay symptoms.


If these symptoms are present, it is probably impossible to save the lemon cypress tree, and its removal is required to stop additional problems.

How often do you water lemon cypress?

The frequency of watering for lemon cypress trees relies on variables including the climate and soil moisture. During the growth season, water the trees once or twice a week as a general rule. Prior to watering, it is crucial to measure the soil’s moisture content.

Put your finger up to an inch deep into the ground. Delay watering until the top inch of soil has dried off if it seems wet. Depending on the demands of the tree and the current weather, alter the watering schedule. Refrain from overwatering to prevent root rot.

Can you cut the top off a lemon cypress tree?

It is feasible to shape or regulate the height of a lemon cypress tree by pruning or cutting off the top. To prevent overstressing or harm to the tree, this procedure, also known as “topping” or “crown reduction,” should be carried out carefully.

Observe these rules while cutting a lemon cypress tree’s top:

  • When to prune: To reduce stress and promote healthy regrowth, prune during the tree’s dormant period in late winter or early spring.
  • Use clean, sharp pruning tools to remove the top section alone, being careful to leave some of the leaves in place. Be careful not to cut into the trunk’s woody area.
  • Professional Assistance: Consult a professional arborist for advice if you’re uncertain about pruning or it’s going to take a lot of it to guarantee appropriate practices and reduce any damage to the tree.

Pruning should be done sparingly to preserve a balanced structure and the general health of the tree.

[The article/content is first published by Lotusmagus.com website.
Lotusmagus is a website about plants and flowers by Amelia Clark. Copyright Marked]

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Social Profile: LinkedIn  YouTube  Pinterest Facebook