Great Trees: Baldcypress

Trees come in all sizes and shapes. Among the different trees available today, I like to think the Baldcypress is among the best for gardens.  The baldcypress is one of the coolest deciduous conifers available. We typically think of conifers as being evergreen, such as pines and spruces, but trees such as baldcypress and dawn redwood are conifers (plants that produce seeds in cones) that lose their needles every year. 

Baldcypress trees have feathery green foliage

The baldcypress tree is a great addition to any garden, there is literally one for every garden, from small dwarf cultivars, to large shade trees, to weepers. The baldcypress tree is adaptable to a wide range of sites; while it prefers wet spots and wet feet, it is very drought tolerant. It grows well in full sun and can take some part shade. The best place to put one is in a low spot or next to a pond or stream. As it grows, especially in wet spots, it will send up “knees” or root extensions out of the water to survive in the water.

‘Cascade Fall’s Baldcypress

One of my favorite baldcypresses is ‘Cascade Falls’, a weeping selection. This small tree grows 6 to 10 feet wide and 10 to 20 feet tall. It is great for a children’s garden, they can play under it during the growing season. 

Baldcypress “knees” in the water

The native baldcypress trees grow 20 to 40 feet wide and 40 to 120 feet tall. The sport soft, feathery green leaves during spring and summer, and turn a brilliant rusty-orange in autumn. Fall leaf pick-up is a cinch, just mow them over and call it good. No messy leaves from this tree! The cones are little balls of seeds that split open in fall and are not a problem in the landscape. 

Fall color of the baldcypress

Wile there are several great cultivars available, you will be just fine with a species tree. And with few pests and diseases, the baldcypress is great for your landscape!


Happy planting!

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