Q: My Italian cypress is dying and I want to replace it with a shrub that will stay thin. Can you recommend something?
A: It is not uncommon for Italian cypress to start showing limb dieback especially if they are in the same irrigation rotation as lawns. These plants are drought tolerant and really do not need to be irrigated weekly. My first thought is for you to consider a specific cultivar of podocarpus called Podocarpus macrophyllus var. angustifolius. This particular plant is a narrow, columnar tree with curved leaves, 2 to 4.5 inches long. It is very hardy but you will need to cap the irrigation head for this area so it will also not develop disease issues.