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Bald Cypress

  • ​Common Name: Bald Cypress (other common names: Swamp Cypress, Common Bald Cypress, Southern Bald-Cypress, Gulf Cypress, Taxodium Species)
  • Scientific Name: Taxodium distichum
  • Family Name: Cupressaceae
  • Origin: native to swampy areas of southern North America including Florida.
  • Height: over 40’ (can get up to 150’)
  • Width: 30’ – 40’
  • Growth: slow growing, symmetrical, pyramidal, and upright, also it will naturalize. It is humidity tolerant and flood resistant.
  • Zone: 4A – 10B
  • Light Needs: Full sun
  • Salt Tolerance:  moderate salt spray, does not like soil salt.
  • Soil/PH/Texture: prefers acidic soil, but is moderately tolerant of alkaline soils, and prefers wet soil, acidic – neutral (pH 5.6 – 7.5)
  • Soil Moisture: Wet-Mesic, Average water needs, likes wet soil
  • Drought Tolerance: moderately
  • Pests/Diseases: susceptible to spider mite, gall forming mite, cypress moths, and twig blight.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance.
  • Characteristics: grown for its foliage, this deciduous and monoecious tree has light green – medium green needled leaves. In the autumn, the feathery foliage of bald cypress will change to a copper color before falling off but return with fresh green leaves in the Spring. The branches of the bald cypress are often draped with clumps of Spanish moss and the trunk can be three to six feet. The male flowers are green droopy panicles, under 1”, the female flowers are greenish looking cones. It has a tolerance of wet sites and their root outgrowths are often known as "knees", although in drier areas they do not have as many knees, not like human knees, they are a special kind of root. The technical term for the knee is pneumatophore, which means “air-bearing.”
  • Propagation: by woody, softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood cuttings, simple, air, tip or serpentine layering, and seed.
  • Wildlife: attracts birds, is resistant to deer, its seeds are eaten by wild turkey, wood ducks, evening grosbeak, water birds, and squirrels. Frogs, toads, and salamanders use the swamps that bald cypress grow in as breeding grounds. Raptors like bald eagles’ nest in their treetops, catfish spawn in the submerged hollow logs, and wood ducks’ nest in their hollow trunks.
  • Facts: Bald cypress trees can live for hundreds of years, growing up to 150 feet in height. In the wild/native land the bald cypress can live up to 600 years, and are usually found near rivers and streams, as well as swamps with slow moving water. The name “bald” comes from the tree dropping its leaves so early in the season. Bald Cypress are valued for the rot-resistant heartwood of mature trees, so they have been widely used to make flooring, caskets, fence posts, doors, boats, cabinetry, and more. They are excellent at soaking up floodwaters, preventing erosion, and trap pollutants and stop them from spreading.
  • Designer Considerations: use as a shade tree, specimen, street tree, is good in mucky soils along stream banks or canals, in mass plantings or groupings on a large estate, especially near a lake's edge or on an island, but it is not suitable for containers.

Bald Cypress