Official website of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association


Members of the NZ Farm Forestry Association have valuable experience to share on growing cypress. We recommend you join NZFFA and the Cypress Development Group, get involved with your local NZFFA branch, and visit some local growers to learn more about growing cypress for timber.

Practical information for growers

  • Growing Cypresses for Timber - Videos and Information
    Here you will find a series of short videos and information notes providing ‘back to basics’ information on growing cypresses for timber. We hope these resources will encourage you to…
  • NZFFA Guide Sheet No. 4: The Cypresses
    The cypresses are amongst the most favoured ‘alternative” timber species in farm forestry circles. They are moderate to lower density softoods (360-380 kg/m3) with light brown to yellowish heartwood and…
  • Growing cypresses for timber
    NZFFA Information leaflet No. 21 (2005). There is no doubt about it, if you want to grow trees in New Zealand for maximum profit with least risk, its very difficult to…


Tree Grower Articles

  • A new name for macrocarpa, and for quite a few others?
    Derrick Rooney, November 2013
    Recent developments in molecular and DNA science have led to significant advances in medical research and in the understanding of many genetic disorders in humans. They have also resulted in…
  • Sawmilling Ovens cypress - A New Zealand first?
    Dean Satchell, February 2013
    Audrey Hay has a small stand of some of the most impressive looking pruned Cupressus ovensii in the country. They were planted by her and her late husband Michael 24…
  • Harvesting mature macrocarpa – never judge a book by its cover
    Allan Laurie, February 2013
    This case study reviews a recent harvest project involving 17 mature macrocarpa trees harvested in south Canterbury. It is very much a story of being aware of what you are…
  • High value alternatives to pine
    Matt Lysaght, November 2010
    When in 1993 Linda and I, along with partners Rob and Trish Roney, decided to establish a forestry block, it was planned to provide a substantial supplement to our respective…
  • Macrocarpa and cypresses in general
    Don Tantrum, February 2010
    I was asked to write something for the cypress feature although I am sure that much of it has been written before. This brief article is based on my conclusions…
  • A new plan for cypresses
    H S Dungey, J Russell, C B Low and G T Stovold, February 2010
    Cypresses are popular with growers and end users alike due to their attractive wood and relatively easy processing properties. Cypresses are generally medium to low density with little variation from pith…
  • Yellow cedar in British Columbia
    John Russell and Jodie Krakowski, February 2010
    Yellow cedar or Alaska cypress, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, has long been valued by North American coastal indigenous people as a source of fibre for mats, baskets and clothing. It is also a durable…
  • A Canadian tree breeder’s view on cypresses in New Zealand
    John Russell, February 2010
    My daughter and I arrived on a damp and chilly afternoon in early July at the Gavins’ farm on the Buller River. Terry and Claire met us in the ubiquitous…
  • Cypress hybrids
    Charlie Low, February 2010
    Hybrids occurring naturally between cypress species can offer commercial advantages over either of the parent species. Some accidental inter-genus hybrids such as Leylands and Ovensii have been vegetatively deployed for…
  • Macrocarpa – The fatal flaw
    Ian Brown, February 2010
    The Waikato is a graveyard for macrocarpa. Here in warmth and humidity we live in fungal paradise. The old spreading farm trees that are a feature of our rural landscape…
  • Macrocarpa stories – more needed
    Allan Levett, November 2009
    The Cypress Development Group decided at its AGM in Gisborne to carry out some joint research with Scion on macrocarpa. Macrocarpa produces a highly regarded timber in New Zealand and…
  • The house that mac built
    Benjamin Lee, February 2009
    My brother Julian and his partner Tricia have devoted their working lives to the New Zealand science community. Although still working, they have taken a step back from full time…
  • Comparing the wood properties of cypress species
    Charlie Low, February 2006
    Cypress species have been grown in New Zealand for many years as a substitute for native timbers. The development of portable sawmills has increased the production of lumber for a…
  • Milling cypresses and the marketing challenge
    Don Tantrum, February 2006
    I have been selecting, propagating, growing and managing cypresses for over 25 years including everything from controlled pollination to milling. We now have over 25 hectares planted from well over…
  • Macrocarpa – keeping faith with the old faithful
    Denis Hocking, February 2006
    In the first part of this issue of Tree Grower we are featuring articles covering some of the varying species and clones of cypress. The main generic name is Cupressus,…
  • Hybrid cypresses – a future plantation option
    Patrick Milne, February 2006
    Cypresses have been one of the most popular species advocated and planted over the last 20 years to compliment radiata forestry. This has certainly been the case with the farm…
  • Are we still planting cypresses on the right site?
    Patrick Milne, February 2006
    There is increasing interest in cypresses as alternative softwood species for plantation forestry in New Zealand. While cypresses as a whole will grow on a very wide range of sites,…
  • Instability in lusitanica - a learning curve
    Ian Brown, May 2005
    I am a fan of cypress, and have been growing them with variable success for 25 years. What I have referred to as a learning curve might equally be described…
  • Floating golden cypress
    Derrick Rooney, May 2005
    Last year, the news broke that a previously unknown species of conifer had been found among the remnants of moist karst forest in northern Vietnam. The new tree was dubbed…
  • A personal view of Leyland cypress
    Ian Brown, February 2005
    My interest in Leyland cypress goes back to 1980, when my brother Richard and I bought 400 Leighton Green cuttings from Joll Hosking in Whangarei. We planted them on our…
  • Debate about cypress management
    Allan Levett & Don Tantrum , February 2005
    This article presents a short debate about cypress management with contributions from Allan Levett and Don Tantrum Allan Levett’s views Silviculture The cypresses at Tinui Forest Park, Wairarapa, have been…


Cypress calculator


Research Reports

  • Hybrid cypress trials Paparoa road, Taumarunui December 2019
    Charlie Low and Vaughan Kearns, December 2019 (Access: Cypress)
    NZFFA Visit to FR532/3, 2014 cypress hybrid blocks, Paparoa road, Taumarunui. A single 81-tree block of each of 30 Scion cypress hybrid clones of which 12 were released to tree…
  • Vaughan Kearns cypress research trials, Raetihi
    Dean Satchell, May 2019 (Access: Cypress)
    This report documents some clonal selections made at Vaughan Kearns cypress plantation near Raetihi. These photos, selections and measurements were made in May 2019. The trees were planted winter 2014. dkh…
  • Report: Trees for steep slopes - Cypress
    Dean Satchell, July 2018 (Access: unrestricted)
    Macrocarpa and cypress have been planted for shelter, shade and aesthetic values for well over 100 years throughout New Zealand, primarily because of easy establishment and good growth rates (Satchell, 2017).…
  • Angus Gordon's Cypress trial at Taihape
    Angus Gordon and Dean Satchell, December 2017 (Access: unrestricted)
    "This trial was set up to experiment with a range of species and provenances to test performance for the site characteristics that exist here, with the range of genetic material…
  • Macrocarpa- Faulkner's strain, Gisborne
    Rodney Faulkner, May 2014 (Access: unrestricted)
    In  1905 My grandfather A.J. Faulkner took up land south of Gisborne. There was little in the way of native bush on these hills and he could see that there…
Cypress Development Group reports
Specialty Wood Products reports
  • Non-destructive detection of the heartwood-sapwood barrier
    SWP-T088 - Access: NZFFA membership. This SWP report shall at all times be kept confidential and not directly or indirectly be made available to anyone who is not an SWP member.
    September 2019
    This study examined the feasibility of using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging to identify the heartwood-sapwood barrier in trees (Eucalyptus globoidea, Eucalyptus bosistoana and Cupressus ovensii). The dielectric properties measured of…
  • Dimensional Stability of Specialty Species
    SWP-T074 - Access: unrestricted.
    May 2019
    Dimensional changes caused by changes in wood moisture content (dimensional stability) can have a large impact on how the wood performs in service. Poor dimensional stability can lead to cracking,…
  • LVL Stiffness Calculator User Guide
    SWP-T059 - Access: unrestricted.
    June 2018
    This software is only intended to be used as a decision tool that enables questions to be asked about the potential suitability of a wood resource being able to supply a range of LVL grades.…


Cypress Handbook

Best Practice with Farm Forestry Timber Species No. 1: CYPRESSES

Editor: Ian Nicholas

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Timber properties and market
Chapter 3 - Siting and land use options
Chapter 4 - Health
Chapter 5 - Seed source, breeding and propagation
Chapter 6 - Establishment and management options
Chapter 7 - Pruning and thinning
Chapter 8 - Cypress growth model and example regimes
Chapter 9 - Economic analysis
Chapter 10 - Utilisation
Chapter 11 and 12 - Summary, references and web links



  • The local market for Lusitanica and Macrocarpa timber: Murray Grant's Blog, May 13, 2018
    For the last 25 years I have been developing the local market for Lusitanica and Macrocarpa timber. Our sawmill sources trees from predominantly plantations. Coming from Dairying then owning a…




Other sources of information


Farm Forestry - Headlines