Based on the photos, I would say you have a Chinafir (Cunninghamia lanceolata). See if this helps verify it for you http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/cun_lan.cfm
@Southern Trillium LLC You got it absolutely correct! I had one at our previous home and each year around Christmas time, my doorbell would right and there would be some one asking could they cut enough for a wreath. Of course, I always said yes. And those who own this tree shouldn't think it is dying when whole "branches" turn brown and drop off. Those "branches" are actually leaves and it is behaving just like a pine tree only the "leaves" are much bigger.
I agree with Southern Trillium it is a Chinafir, Cunninghamia lanceolata, an old fashioned and interesting tree you don't see much.
Interesting! That's a new one on me.
I agree that it looks like a Cunninghamia. I have one here in the nursery now about 4 feet tall. I planted it about 3 years ago at the front entrance.
@360 Sod (Donna Dixson) It is going to become a large tree, think about a Southern Magnolia. If that wouldn't fit in your spot I suggest you move it while you can or you will have to chainsaw prune it latter.
I also think it is a Cunninghamia. The foliage is stiff and prickly similar to the Araucaria araucan, known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
strange you mentioned monkey puzzle tree. the home owner calls it his monkey tree? thanks for all your replies.
Sem dúvida é uma araucária, ou parente, sou do Sul do Brasil, e tenho algumas no sítio (casa de campo) bem parecidas.
I had two of those in my yard where we moved from. The previous owners' young son brought sprouts from his grandfather's yard in Georgia and planted them. They told me that they were Monkey Pines They grow to be HUGE trees, and they shed those long fronds a lot and are messy, but I think they are pretty trees.
I have one. Always heard it called a monkey tree. Common name.
You should not trim this tree up, that way the lower limbs hide the shed brown "branches" which are actually leaves. When the tree is limbed up there are constantly shed leaves to pick up almost year round. Just like with a Southern Magnolia, let the limbs hang to the ground and hide the shed leaves, or at least most of them.
Australian tree fern, this one must be very old and established. What state are you in? If you are in a northern state that has winter freezes I am surprised it survived them.
Monkey Tree or Monkey Pine
This is definitely NOT a Monkey Puzzle tree. I had one at my home in Oregon and thought it was a cryptomeria, but it's not. I wish I could remember the botanical name but I can't.