In 2007, after having started a batch of pines the year before, I started a batch of Monterey Cypress. I collected the seed from a tree in the Presidio here in San Francisco. Cypress grow very fast, even as seedlings. It takes only a couple years to have a tree that is three feet tall, although the trunk remains small.
I grew these in pond baskets and boxes for a while, like with the pines. They do okay in baskets, but tend to get roots so dense that using a Sawzall to remove the bottom of the root mass is necessary. When I moved to Thousand Oaks I put eight of the trees into the ground, almost like a hedge along one side of my bonsai growing area. In only a couple years the trunks went from less than an inch to about three inches across.
Just before leaving Thousand Oaks, I dug them all up again and put them into large boxes to transport back to San Francisco. This is one of four from that hedge that I decided to keep.
The tree measures about 25″ high with a girth of 3″. One of the great things about Cypress is that they seem to put on significant wood even in a bonsai container. The wire will cut in very quickly, and after removing the wire the branches have a habit of springing back. On other cypress that I’ve been working on I tend to wire the branches, then remove the wire and add guy wires to keep them from springing up too much.
The disadvantage of their wood production is that over time the branches can get too large, particularly on the top of the tree.