Bald Cypress
Taxodium distichum

Family: Cupressaceae (koo-press-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Taxodium (taks-OH-dee-um) (Info)
Species: distichum (DIS-tik-um) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Trees

Height:

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:

N/A

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Deciduous

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

By simple layering

By air layering

By tip layering

By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Atmore, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Dothan, Alabama

New Market, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Prescott, Arizona

Fresno, California

Goleta, California

Laguna Beach, California

Valley Center, California

Fort Collins, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

South Lyme, Connecticut

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Hampton, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Hernando, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Thonotosassa, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Griffin, Georgia

Hinesville, Georgia

Macon, Georgia

Nampa, Idaho

Forrest, Illinois

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

West Brooklyn, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Vincennes, Indiana

Decorah, Iowa

Kingman, Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Benton, Kentucky

Lancaster, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Boutte, Louisiana

Coushatta, Louisiana

Gramercy, Louisiana

Kenner, Louisiana

La Place, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafitte, Louisiana

Lutcher, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Paulina, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Owings, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Gobles, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

Brandon, Mississippi

Columbus, Mississippi

Long Beach, Mississippi

Ridgeland, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Piedmont, Missouri

Crete, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Cedarville, New Jersey

Brewster, New York

Medina, New York

Castle Hayne, North Carolina

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Rowland, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Central Point, Oregon

Blairsville, Pennsylvania

Brookhaven, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Inman, South Carolina

Irmo, South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Morrison, Tennessee

Anderson, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Brookston, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas

Irving, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Red Oak, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas (2 reports)

Weatherford, Texas

Suffolk, Virginia (2 reports)

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

Cambridge, Wisconsin

Grafton, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

25
positives
7
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jan 4, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A beautiful, hardy, adaptable tree that deserves to be planted more often here in the north.

It is normally very late to leaf out in the spring here, often not till late June, and it starts to lose its leaves in late August.

Requires acid soil, very prone to chlorosis on high pH soils.

As has been noted below, the knees are attractive and interesting but make mowing difficult. They don't form under normal landscape conditions. They only form where the soil is frequently saturated, as where it's boggy and next to water.

Positive

On Mar 4, 2014, Timberplot from Blairsville, PA wrote:

I chose the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) to re-forest a horse pasture on my farm in 1999. I randomly planted 300 seedlings from 6" to 12" tall, roughly 8' to 10' apart with the thought of a potential timber plot for someone in another time. The topography was a nearly level floodplain terrace transitioning into a wetland with deep silt loam to clayey soils. An 18" section of 4" drain pipe was placed around every seedling to prevent voles and rabbits from chewing them the first 6 years. The trees have grown very well to date with knees protruding throughout the plot. The trees now exceed 20' in height with a 6" to 14" DBH. The canopies are beginning to close and I have started de-limbing the trunks up the main bole to ~ 10' in height. This has created a park-like setting with very litt... read more

Positive

On Feb 10, 2013, Carolsflowers from Brunswick, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have 2 of these & like them very much. They seem graceful & airy. Mine are 20 years old. A word of caution - about age 10 & since they do shed many small branches all year long. While a lot of folks like the fall color, I find the dark rust of mine unattractive. To me it looks like the leaves have died & hung on for a period of time. When the leaves do fall, they do not have the 'smother' factor of the large leafed trees.

Positive

On Apr 3, 2012, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Taxodium distichum is a wonderful and graceful tree. My neighbor planted three Bald Cypress trees 30 years ago. They are each approximately 70+ feet tall with a 30 foot spread and 2' diameter trunks. They are virtually disease and insect resistant. Their leaves do not blow around after they drop in the fall. They also have very strong branches that resist wind and ice damage. They are also surprisingly very drought tolerant. SC Kansas went through the hottest and driest summer on record during 2011, but the bald cypress trees were the least affected plants. Finally, they seem to do better in alkaline soil than commonly reported. SC Kansas is supposed to have alkaline soil, but they still thrive around here.
The only drawback is the seeds. Once the seeds break apart from... read more

Positive

On Feb 20, 2012, VAsouthern from Starkville, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

The bald cypress tree is a native tree here in Suffolk, VA. I have an entire forest of them growing in the swamp behind my house mixed with some water tupelo trees. They are very beautiful, and can get very tall. I have a few that are probably around 100+ ft. One has a base diameter of about 5 to 6 feet. The cypress "knees" are everywhere, and a many have grown 3 feet above the water/ground. A few miles down the road there is a forest of these trees covered in spanish moss, and they look great with spanish moss. Another plus for this tree is that if the top breaks off during a storm or hurricane, they usually continue to grow from the trunk giving it a unique and interesting look. I have one that was struck by lightning, and the top literally got blasted off into hundreds of pieces... read more

Positive

On Apr 29, 2011, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

Planted a Bald Cypress in my backyard about three years ago, and it has survived the harsh winters. Rabbits or some animal seems to rub and eat the bark at ground level. Lovely tree, planted in a low area with lots of water.

Positive

On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Bald Cypress is a great tree to plant especially if you would like a tall tree that is not too wide. It has beautiful light green foliage and before it drops its needles they turn a beautiful rust red. The trees do not seem to mind long summer droughts (occasionally they will turn slightly yellow or brown if the drought is too long) and, since they are swamp plants, do not seemed to be phased in the water logged soils of late winter and early spring. One of my trees is in a particularly wet site during winter and spring and has developed small knees. The only problem with that is that it makes it harder to mow around. These are beautiful trees and I agree with the person who stated that if you ever make it to Philadelphia, go to Longwood Gardens. They have some of their main walking ... read more

Neutral

On May 22, 2009, JoeCastleHayne from Castle Hayne, NC wrote:

My favorite local native, but
As a discount plant addict, I found the slightly brown and highly discounted baldcypress at my local big box store irresistible. Despite their semi -desiccated state, I bought the last 3 and put them in the ground last fall. Six months later, I am learning about one of my newest discovered foes, the baldcypress rust mite. .. These little guys are responsible for the reddening (more like browning) of the innermost needles of bald cypress that is usually seen during the mid to late summer. The mites themselves are brown, quite small and require magnification to view. However their molted exoskeletons are apparent as small white flecks on the underside of the leaves. I have 2 trees that are severely infested, already showing yellowing of the ne... read more

Positive

On Jan 13, 2009, Tom1alt from Garland, TX wrote:

I planted a 6 foot Bald Cypress over 20 years ago and it is now about 50 feet tall. I live in an alkaline soil area (ph of 8 and the (non-rain) water is more alkaline than that) and have had no problems at all (no iron deficiency, etc). I had bagworms slightly one year but that is the only problem I've had. The tree is gorgeous during the growing season with that fern like folaige, a Christmas tree shape, and a nice orange-brown color in the fall before the leaves drop. I rake up the leaves and use them for mulching the other plants in the landscape, because those leaves decompose themselves after a few months which is perfect as they disappear in the spring and add nutrients in the meantime. The only two negatives about the tree are the root "knots" that break the surface from time t... read more

Positive

On Dec 22, 2008, cdrbuz from La Vista, NE wrote:

We currently have two trees growing in our back yard in La Vista, NE. On Dec. 5, 2007 an ice storm bent these 15-foot trees almost double. We let the ice melt, the trees straightened up, and they grew all of 2008 as if nothing had happened. Sub-zero cold (-10) doesn't seem to affect them and 100 days in the summer doesn't bother them either. Highly recommended for the Omaha area.

Positive

On Aug 18, 2007, BROforest from Brownsville, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

In Brownsville, TX we also plant Montezuma Bald Cypress which do not have the deciduous habit and cannot live north to San Antonio. The two photos I added were from a private preserve/camp at Krause Springs, out of Spicewood, TX. As Wingnut said here in 2004, these trees are confirmed at over 600 years old and some passing experts have guessed them to be more like 1500 years old. I measured one at over 12' diameter and the canopy covered 75'-100' diameter. The heights are also probably 100'+ These trees are in desparate need of having wood mulch placed between the trunks and drip lines as the foot traffic is heavy and the ground is getting to be like concrete. There are natural year round crystal clear springs here and 40 acres of preserved beauty. You really need to see this park t... read more

Positive

On Apr 8, 2007, Treeguy from Charleston, SC wrote:

I am starting a nursery that is growing rare trees from around the world, yet I am inclined to grow this lovely beautiful native tree. This is my favorite native tree and in my opinion one of the most beautiful, tough, and adaptable tree in North America! This tree, along with the Pond Cypress, I will add to my list of trees. The only rare tree that I can compare it to would be the Dawn Redwood.

Positive

On Jan 13, 2007, Sherlock221 from Lancaster, KY wrote:

This is a wonderful tree and an interesting addition to the landscape. They love water, but they will also grow in drier areas, although they will grow much more slowly. We live in the bluegrass area in central Kentucky and planted a grouping of them on a sloping portion of our property. The trees at the bottom of the hill where the water runs to are about four times the size of the ones at the top of the slope -- and all are the same age and planted at the same time. They are a lovely pyramid shape with an interesting red bark. They are especially lovely in early spring when the fern-like leaves are bright spring green. Summer brings a different and beautiful shade of green, and dense foliage. Birds love them. Note that they are late to leaf out, at least in this part of the cou... read more

Positive

On Dec 12, 2006, sube1984 from Bishop, CA (Zone 7a) wrote:

these are real beauties. i have two, 1 for bonsai that i grow submerged in 4 inches of water year round and another that i am growing for landscape use. no problems with them at all. very hardy

Neutral

On Nov 18, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Bald Cypress can also been found on th University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus. I found at least two plants. They are small and rather stunted looked plants but are unprotected and fully hardy.

Positive

On May 25, 2005, estiva from Grafton, WI wrote:

I love this tree! Only by research on the internet did I realize that the Baldcypress will grow and thrive down to zone 4. They are all but unheard of in se Wisconsin (5b) . I planted a 2.5 foot specimen near my creek early last year and now it is about 4 feet. I am anxiously waiting to see if the "knees" pop out of the water. I have also planted a couple in a nearby park--soon people will ask "how'd they get there?"

Positive

On Apr 26, 2005, earthy13 from Roswell, GA wrote:

Wonderful tree! I have planted two on my property. The first one I put in over ten years ago. Extremely hardy once established and hassle free: it has withstood drought conditions, prolonged wetness (overabundant 'rainy seasons'), high winds (remnants of hurricanes that came up from Florida), and ice storms. Speaking of ice storms, the last one we had took out our ornamental plum tree so I replaced the lost tree with a second bald cypress (dormant) a month and a half ago. Since it has popped, new growth all over; transplanted well and in a good spot.

Unique fall colour-russet/bronze. Native to Georgia but thrives well elsewhere: I have seen some mature trees in eastern West Virginia. Great urban tree for tight spaces or can "spread out" if given the room to grow.

Positive

On Nov 11, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A stunning tree that one will not soon forget. Whether it is standing in swampy water ,or used as a suburban accent tree, the Baldcypress is adaptable and quite happy in most conditions.

It is a relative of the giant Redwood trees of California and it's wood is used in construction, railroad ties, fenceposts and shingles. The wood is light, straight grained, durable and does not warp easily.

Seeds are eaten by cranes and songbirds.

Neutral

On Oct 22, 2004, muirwoods from Malvern, PA wrote:

At Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania they have about 25 in a row and these trees get very very tall. They are all approaching 100 feet each. Longwood for those that get close to Philadelphia is a must see, the old Dupont Mansion with just about every tree that can grow in the East in it's full mature size.

Positive

On Jun 28, 2004, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I can not think of a single bad comment for this tree! It is definately one of my favourites. If you have ever seen a swamp with a grove of Baldcypress looming in the mist-dripping with spanish moss, then you know how haunting and memorable these trees are. The stumps are just gorgeous when used for planters or animal habitats. Grinding them up is such a waste and should be illegal!
Recently I aquired a few seedlings that I am training now as a Bonsai Swamp Planting.
To anyone that has the ability to get these trees- DO IT! Save the cypress! LOL
Just, stunning.

Positive

On Jun 17, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

TerriFlorida made an excellent point. The Cypress Domes do make wonderful critter habitat. Unfortunately, people keep purchasing cypress mulch for their gardens, and as long as they do then there are those who will clear cut those cypress domes and grind up those trees. Don't those gardeners think about where all this cypress mulch comes from? It has been said that they are a renewable resource. Dah! How long does it take to renew a cypress dome, and where do the critters go in the meantime?
Now I'll get off my soapbox. Mother Nature 4

Positive

On Jun 16, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

GORGEOUS tree! It seems to grow rather triangular shaped until it's a few years old. This tree doesn't necessarily need a LOT of water, just regular watering, but of course will tolerate wet conditions just fine. Only produces the "knees" in wet conditions.

I have several trees that have been estimated at hundreds of years old, one in particular that is possibly over 600 years someone suggested ~ I haven't verified that yet.

Positive

On May 15, 2004, rochha from Owings, MD wrote:

I grabbed a bunch of Baldcypress seeds on the ground that grow in Annapolis in the Downtown Historic district, there are seven trees planted in a connecting alleyway to west street close to its visitor center, I wanted to plant some in my back yard which is flooded always, I can't do anything with the land because it is protected by Critical Area Laws, So I decided to create my own Baldcypress grove, it will look so cool in 20 years. I've gotten like 31 Plants growing out there now also I ordered 7 from Naturehills, and when I ran out of planters I just threw the rest of the seed in the wet areas now about 7 have just sprouted on their own, from all the research I've done on the internet they all said it was hard to grow them from seeds, I just put them in a dish of water for about 2 weeks... read more

Positive

On May 6, 2004, Dboz from Brookston, TX wrote:

I Have 2 Bald Cypress trees one is two years old and the other is three, this year they are going to both make nuts for the first time. I planted them in black land in Brookston Texas and the are doing really good. They seem to be growing really fast, I would recommend this tree to anyone who loves trees. (Plant Trees always)

Neutral

On Apr 17, 2004, arrowood from Williamsburg, VA wrote:

The tree grows well in my yard. It was recommended to me for the spot it is in by an arborist. He neglected to advise me about "knees," however. They are popping up all around the base of the tree. Fortunately, they have not as yet invaded the lawn area surrounding the mulched bed in which the tree is planted, but I'm worried that they will one day. I mistakenly thought that "knees" were only found when the tree was standing in water. I now know better!

Positive

On Nov 24, 2003, treelover3 from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have had the Baldcypress (correctly spelled as one word) cultivar 'Shawnee Brave' in my yard for 2 years without any problems. The winter of 2002/2003 was tough on woody plants and this tree didn't blink.

There are 3 large (50') Baldcypress trees (straight species) growing in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN). The trees were planted in the late 50's and early 60's and have seen some very bad winters. Two of the trees are planted in one yard and cones are being produced.

I collected seed this fall and have sown the seed giving various pretreatments first. One of the seeds has already germinated, so the seed is viable.

Cuttings and scion material have been collected from the trees by the Minnesota Landscape Ar... read more

Positive

On Nov 19, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I do not have a cypress tree growing on my own property, as I live in a live oak hammock in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, on practically limestone bedrock. But there are many acres of these trees very close by, growing naturally along both the Suwannee and the Steinhatchee Rivers. And there are several nearby State and County parks that have long, wooden broadwalks where people can safely walk through the swampy areas where these trees thrive in the algae-rich, green water, with many cypress "knees" growing alongside the big trees.

This area of Florida was once rich in cypress swamps, but unfortuntely for the tree, cypress wood makes a beautiful, strong, and quite water-resistant lumber for building, and now even the smallest sliver is valuable as long-lasting "cypress m... read more

Positive

On Oct 9, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

It is funny to me that the cypress should not have more positive comments. It is hardy and adaptable, it is interesting when young and when old, and it is easy to grow. When properly placed, it creates a marvelous garden accent. I would suggest that if you have one growing where you do not want it, remove it and have the stump ground down so that it has nothing to regrow from.

There are three very gnarly old ones out at the front of my five acres. The tallest one was hit by lightning recently. Darn! The young one in my garden (about 20' tall now) is brilliant green in spring, strong green all summer, and orange in fall. Its naked form in winter is strongly upright. I like these trees wherever I see them -- there is a cypress dome (swamp) not far from here, you see them all o... read more

Positive

On Oct 9, 2003, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bald Cypress is one of our favorite trees. It deserves a Positive rating here in the Lowcountry (coastal region) of South Carolina, where it is planted extensively by both homeowners and professional landscapers. We rejoice at the appearance of bright green leaves in the Spring and thoroughly enjoy its presence year-round. Cypress wood resists decay and is used for building fences, decks, and outdoor furniture. I had thought the only means of propagation was by seed in a wet medium.
=========================
Comment added 6-17-04:
My husband mows over new knees or cuts them out with an ax if they interfere with mowing, and it doesn't seem to affect their growth or strength.

Neutral

On Oct 8, 2003, acampbell from Rowland, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

It's very beautiful! But it is very hard to kill. There is one growing up in the middle of the driveway which I cut down periodically so the car can go over it. It grows right back! I may give up and move the driveway. The 'cones' on mine are spherical, about 1/2" to 1" in diameter. It is not growing anywhere near water so has not formed the knees.

Neutral

On Jun 29, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

We have one of these here in Rio de Janeiro, in the margin of the lake in the botanical garden, though it doesnt lose its leaves during the year, and I never saw its pines. I guess it only tolerates such hot climate, and since its the only one I know, I guess even that one is an exception.

Neutral

On Nov 4, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Bald Cypress does best in full sun but it will grow in full shade and in almost any soil. It grows well in or near water. It will also grow in well-drained locations
This cypress grows to a maximum height of about 100 feet but 50 feet is more typical. It has a conical shape as young tree, but older ones tend to become irregular
The Bald Cypress has 4 to 5 inch cones, brownish silver in winter, greenish purple in spring. The foliage is alternate, soft and fern-like; emerald green in spring, rust colored in fall