20 Jul TreeNewal’s Bald Cypress Tree Guide
Bald Cypresses are big, bushy trees with beautiful, distinctive features. They’re one of only a handful of deciduous conifer trees in North America, and they’re usually among the first trees to drop their foliage in the fall and the last to leaf out in the spring. It’s this unique feature that gives the Bald Cypress its name. Although they typically grow in wet, swampy areas, they also make great yard trees, and an established Bald Cypress can even be surprisingly tolerant of drought. If you have one of these trees on your property or are considering planting one, read on to learn more about how to care for Bald Cypress trees in Dallas-Fort Worth.
An overview of Bald Cypress trees
When you think of Bald Cypress trees (Taxodium distichum), also spelled Baldcypress tree, you probably picture forests of giant trees with flared trunks growing in swamps and along riverbanks throughout the southern United States. You might even picture their characteristic woody “knees,” which grow up from their root systems when they’re in wet, soggy environments. The Bald Cypress is Louisiana’s state tree because they’re prolific in the state’s swamps. However, they are also popular trees in Texas, and not just in the swampy areas. Bald Cypresses can grow in a variety of conditions and landscapes, including dry, upland soils. As long as they get enough water when they’re young, established Bald Cypress trees can happily grow in the dry soils found in many parks and yards throughout Dallas-Fort Worth. They also tolerate a variety of climates, although they prefer warm, humid climates and full sun. The Bald Cypress leaf is made up of soft needles, giving the tree bushy, fern-like features. The foliage turns a striking copper color in the fall, making the Bald Cypress a popular ornamental tree. They also grow large enough to put them squarely in the shade tree category, making them an ideal candidate for Texas planting. During the flowering season, Bald Cypress trees produce both male and female flowers. The male flowers grow in drooping clusters during the winter and pollinate the female flowers during the spring. The female flowers look like small cone lets, which go from soft and green to woody and brown during the fall, and then mature seeds break away from the conelet and fall to the ground.
Caring for a young Bald Cypress tree
Bald Cypress trees tend to grow somewhat quickly when they’re young, as long as they have enough water and are otherwise properly cared for. If you’re thinking about planting a Bald Cypress tree in your yard or on your property, here are some things to consider:
- Selecting plant location: There are some things to keep in mind when you’re selecting the right spot for planting your Bald Cypress. Although you can grow them in almost any soil, ideally, you should plant this tree in acidic, moist, sandy soil. If you can avoid planting it in alkaline soils, that’s going to be your best bet for ensuring it doesn’t develop Chlorosis. Soil that’s well-drained but still retains some moisture is preferred. It would help if you also planted it to get full sun and has plenty of room to grow.
- Watering your tree: Although you do need to make sure your newly planted Bald Cypress has plenty of water, you don’t need to create a swampland in your yard for it to thrive. Please give it a good soak right after planting and then once a week for the first few months. In general, make sure the soil is moist but not water-logged. They need the most water in the spring during the growing season and fall right before they go dormant.
Caring for a mature Bald Cypress tree
The oldest known living tree in Eastern North America is a Bald Cypress that’s more than 2,625 years old. As Bald Cypress trees mature, they slow their growth rate and, in the right conditions, can grow into giants that live hundreds of years. Below are some tips for taking care of your Bald Cypress and give it the longest life possible:
- Watering a mature tree: Even once your Bald Cypress tree reaches maturity, you should continue to monitor it and water it as needed. It can tolerate some drought, but supplemental watering during periods of drought and extreme heat will boost its health and help it thrive.
- Fertilizing and mulching: Don’t fertilize your tree for the first year after planting. If you regularly fertilize your lawn, you probably don’t need to fertilize your tree even after it reaches maturity. If your tree does need fertilizer, consider using a mulch that includes compost or other organic materials that will slowly seep into the soil. Using mulch is always a good idea as it protects your tree’s roots by keeping the soil beneath the mulch moist and cool. When spreading the mulch, keep it a few inches away from the trunk and make it more than an inch or two thick. Too much mulch can block oxygen and choke the tree’s roots.
Common issues for Bald Cypress trees
Like all trees, Bald Cypress trees have a unique set of issues that tree owners will have to learn to navigate. They’re susceptible to certain pests, diseases, and other conditions. Here’s a quick list of common Bald Cypress problems to help you figure out which signs and symptoms warrant a call to a certified arborist for professional tree care:
- Chlorosis: You should monitor your Bald Cypress for signs of Chlorosis, which is when the leaves on your tree turn prematurely yellow, especially during periods of drought. Chlorosis is typically caused by iron deficiency. It’s common for trees in alkaline soils because the soil holds onto the iron, making it difficult for the tree to absorb an appropriate amount. Certain trees are more prone to develop Chlorosis. A lack of water in the soil can also make it difficult for the tree to absorb enough iron. If you notice Chlorosis, try deeply soaking the soil. If it continues, call a certified arborist.
- Beetles: One of the most common pests for Bald Cypress trees is the Cypress beetle, which has a yellow head and a body covered in dark markings. They’re not usually fatal, but they can cause damage if they attack the tree in swarms. They will make a home near the tree’s crown and feed on its needles.
- Mites: Spider mites are another common pest of the Bald Cypress. Because they’re so tiny, you probably won’t notice these pests until you start seeing the damage they cause. They pierce the foliage with their sharp mouthparts and drain the fluids, causing the foliage to turn a pale color.
- Blight: The Bald Cypress is also prone to various types of needle blight, a fungal disease that causes spots on the tree’s foliage, bark, and cones. It’s typically worse during periods of drought, so supplemental watering can help your tree stay healthy.
- Bagworms: These worms, which attack a wide range of trees, are common problems for Bald Cypresses. They create sealed bags made of silk, but their appearances vary because the bagworms weave pieces of the host tree into the silk, which gives the sacs a shingled, conical look. The easiest way to control bagworms is to remove the sacs by hand or knock them down with a high-pressure blast of water. You’ll need to carefully gather and dispose of the bags so that the eggs won’t hatch and reinfest the tree in the spring.
Do you have questions about your Bald Cypress? TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists can help!
If you have questions or concerns about caring for your Bald Cypress tree, TreeNewal is a certified arborist tree service that’s ready and equipped to handle your needs. We have multiple ISA Certified Arborists on staff and a team of highly qualified tree care experts who can visit your property to assess your tree’s health and determine a comprehensive plan that’s customized to your yard, soil, and landscaping. When it comes to tree care, Texas landowners trust, our team of tree doctors and tree surgeons are the best in the business. We offer expert tree care services such as pest and disease control, tree trimming and pruning, root aeration, tree removal in Texas, stump removal, and much more. We care deeply about tree health care and protecting your Bald Cypress trees from disease, pests, fungus, and any other ailments. For more information about our tree care services, go to our website at treenewal.com. To set up an appointment, call us at (817) 349-7754.
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