Problem with Italian Cypresses

I have a row of 16 Italian Cypresses, 25 years old and 50 feet tall.
I recently noticed that the upper ranges of several trees show bald areas where you can actually see the trunk.
Would anyone know what is going on? Location is Southern California. Would hate to cut these beautiful trees down!
Take a look: http://home.san.rr.com/iconoclast /
Thanks
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
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Walter R. Wrote:

Hi Walter,
Great photo. Italian cypress are very prone to root rot from poo drainage. If the soil is soggy, that could be part of the cause. If yo can, look to see if sap is running down the trunk as there have bee problems with a disease called canker in California. You might fin this an interesting read even though it's from 2001. I don't agree wit the recommended chemicals for the spider mite. There are other mor environmentally friendly solutions (no pun intended). http://tinyurl.com/3uj25
From this site: http://tinyurl.com/5mur7
"Cypress Tree, Canker
Quite a few questions have come in about this fungus disease. It kill or disfigures many species of cypress all over California. The symptom are the yellowing, fading, and death of individual twigs, branches, o tops of affected trees. Eventually spreading through the entire tre and killing it. Death can occur any season, but most often during war months. As the disease progresses, the fungus begins to attack th living bark and cambium. Resinous lesions or cankers form, with heav resin flow (less flow from old or slow growing trees) from the edges o the canker. The cypress bark moth often invades the borders of th cankers where they excrete large quantities of a reddish brown fras and stimulates even more resin flow. The only area in the state tha does not have this disease is a narrow coastal band fronted by th Pacific Ocean. Italian, Leyland, and Monterey Cypresses are the mos susceptible. Remove diseased branches and destroy. Spray wounds with fungicide. Preventative spraying of a fungicide like Benomyl after th first fall rain can be helpful."
You might also be able to get some information from your loca extension service. http://cvr.ucdavis.edu /
New
-- Newt
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Walter,
I know what I would do here in Florida- get in touch with the County Hort Agent. Those guys are smart and will look at it for free. There might be a Master Gardener program in your county- look for it.
I find that the County Extension Office is very under-utilized, and full of very smart people. I use their expertise in my practice [I am a landscape architect].
Michael
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