· Brent Wilson's Answer
· Hi Diane,
This is a good question. When planted in groups or nearby other types of plants, the Gold Mop Cypress is often planted too closely to other plants. Most likely, this is because it's a slow grower that looks small even when purchased in larger size containers, compelling folks to plant them too close together to get that "instant gratification." Most aren't aware that this plant can grow 8'+ in height with an almost equal spread over time. So, when they are planted too closely together overcrowding occurs and one ends up having to make the decision to relocate or to prune.
If your Gold Mop Cypress are nearing their mature size and growth rate has slowed considerably you could leave them where they are. To prevent Chamaecyparis and other Cypress Family conifers (including some others with fan-like needles, like Arborvitae and juniper), from getting too big and bulky, you can gently head the branches back occasionally. This means snipping off just some of the ambitious tips where the spray-like flattened needles fork, telling the plant gently to redirect its growth into fullness rather than elongation. NOTE: Never cut back into old wood on a Chamaecyparis or the others mentioned here.
But, from what you're describing, it sounds like your plants have become seriously overcrowded and are no longer attractive. If so, pruning isn't going to be the option as these conifers don't respond well to heavy pruning (removal of more than four to six inches foliage.) As mentioned previously, never cut back into old wood on Gold Mop Cypress or any other Chamaecyparis and other Cypress Family conifers.
Well-established, mature size Chamaecyparis don't respond well to relocation either. If you want to attempt to move yours, do so in late winter or very early spring, before new growth starts to emerge.
Here's a link to an article that provides detailed instructions for relocating and transplanting a plant:http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/327/How-To-Info/Planting/How-to-Relocate-And-Transplant-A-Shrub-or-Tree/default.html