Like other falsecypress varieties, the oldest portions of the "Boulevard" tree's branch produce no needles.

How to Prune Chamaecyparis Pisifera Boulevard

by Jessica Westover

The bluish-green needles of the "Boulevard" Japanese falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera "Boulevard") appear almost silvery and create an identifiable contrast among your landscape evergreens. This evergreen tree grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 8, and requires full to partial sunlight and fast-draining soil. The "Boulevard" Japanese falsecypress produces a naturally, pyramidal growth habit. Yearly pruning in the late winter or early spring, while the tree remains dormant, will ensure that the habit remains aesthetically pleasing and eliminate problem areas.

Pour 1 part 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol and 1 part water into a bucket. Soak the blades of bypass pruning shears, loppers and a pruning saw in the solution for five minutes to sterilize them. Blot the blades dry with a cloth.

Examine the "Boulevard" Japanese falsecypress, looking for any dead, dry branches sporting dead, brown or no needles. Cut each dead branch back to 1/4 inch above a living lateral branch in the needled portion of canopy or its branch bark collar, the swollen ring surrounding the branch's base at the point it joins the trunk. Position the cut at a 45- to 60-degree angle. Use the pruning shears on limbs with 1/2-inch diameters or less, the loppers on diameters of 1 1/2 inches or less, and the pruning saw on diameters greater than 1 1/2 inches.

Prune back any broken branches to a side branch or base at least 1 inch below the damaged portion. Remove broken branches entirely if the break ends in old wood where no needles exist.

Trim back any diseased branches to 1/4 inch above a healthy lateral shoot sporting needles. Cut the diseased branch off entirely, just above its base, if it contains no healthy wood or if the first healthy side branch resides within the oldest, center portion of the canopy that remains without needles. Never cut back to a lateral branch in the needle-less center to avoid creating holes in the canopy. Sterilize the blades in the same manner as before after each cut into diseased wood.

Remove any branches that cross or rub against others. Make each cut 1/4 inch above a lateral branch sporting needles or the branch's base.

Trim back any overly long or vigorous branches that detract from the Japanese falsecypress' overall shape and appearance. Cut these branches back to a lateral branch within the canopy's needled portion to hide the pruning cut.

Sterilize the pruning shears, loppers and pruning saw with the rubbing alcohol solution once you finish pruning to remove any clinging pathogens. Pat the blades dry with a clean cloth to remove any moisture before storing the tools to prevent them from rusting.

Items you will need

  • 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  • Bucket
  • Bypass pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Cloth


  • Wear gloves when pruning the Japanese falsecypress to protect your hands from injury.


  • Do not shear a "Boulevard" Japanese falsecypress, as this will cause thick growth on the ends of its branches, which will prevent light from reaching the tree's interior.
  • Remove dead or broken branches as soon as they appear, no matter the season.

Photo Credits

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