Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tree Thursday - Bald Cypress

For Thursday, July 26, 2012

I’m back from a mini-vacation and here’s some information on Bald Cypress trees –

Bald Cypress
(Baldcypress, Bald-cypress)
Taxodium distichum

Bald Cypress is a beautiful native tree that should be used more in landscapes.  While it naturally grows in wet areas, making it good for plantings in water retention sites; it also does well in dry areas.  Wood from this tree is used for Cypress mulch and some naturally growing trees are harvested just to make mulch so I would recommend purchasing other varieties of wood mulch to prevent the over harvesting of this native tree. 

Bald Cypress is a large tree, to more than 130 ft (40 m) tall, with a trunk diameter at breast height of up to 10 ft (3 m) or more. The young tree is pyramid shaped, but with age the top flattens and the crown may spread as much as 60 ft (18 m) or more. The lower trunk is often greatly enlarged and buttressed. The bark is reddish gray or brown with long fibrous ridges that peel off in strips. Unusual among coniferous needle bearing trees, bald cypress is deciduous. The needles turn rusty brown, then almost red before dropping in late fall or early winter. (Yes, even in South Florida.)

Bald Cypress occurs naturally in swamps, flood plains and along the edges of lakes and rivers on the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from southeastern Delaware to southern Texas and up the Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois. It often occurs in pure stands: cypress swamps.
Bald-cypress makes a fine specimen tree for very large landscapes. They are best suited to wet areas, lake margins, and the like, but as noted above, they will thrive in normal, even dry soils. The feathery pale green foliage is attractive in spring and summer, and again in fall when it turns reddish. A nice shade tree in summer, bald-cypress lets the sun shine through in winter.
Bald-cypress has been called the eternal wood because it is extremely resistant to decay.
Pictured below is a young Bald Cypress showing the pyramidal growth, cones of the Bald Cypress and the leaves.

There are some naturally occuring Bald Cypress in Downtown Fort Lauderdale at Stanahan Park - the southeast corner of Broward Blvd and Andrews Ave. 

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897

Think before you print!