How to Grow a Cypress Tree

Overview

The cypress tree has gained interest in the southeastern United States for its role in the wetlands, specifically in Florida. Its timber is prized for lumber as well as mulch, but it also can enhance the aesthetics and functioning of stormwater drainage systems according to Susan W. Vince, of the University of Florida IFAS Extension. You can choose between the pondcypress and the baldcypress, both suitable for growing in wetlands.

Step 1

Choose a suitable site. The cypress trees, noted for its rot-resistant wood, needs to grow in an area that has a high water table and is even flooded by water during some times during the year. They will not grow in areas that stay under water year around, because they need a dry time for seed germination. The soil is not quite as important as the water since the cypress trees can grow in almost any soil except very rocky areas. If you are growing the tree for lumber, however, it will need rich soil to produce straight grains. Sunlight is important for the cypress, but they will tolerate a little shade.

Step 2

Decide which variety of cypress is good for your site. The pondcypress is just as its name implies--suitable for pond areas where the water tends to pool after rainfall. Since the soil tends to be more waterlogged and acid, the pondcypress will thrive where the baldcypress would struggle. The baldcypress grows more in areas that have periodic flooding, not a constant stand of water or moist soil. The baldcypress will get much larger and can live for centuries while the pondcypress will stay a smaller tree.

Step 3

Plant the trees during the dormant stage. The trees do not grow during this resting time and will not put out any new growth. Since planting generally tends to stress the tree, making it more susceptible to disease and insects, it is much easier to plant it during dormancy. This tends to be during November and March before what can be the dry season in April.

Step 4

Care for the seedlings as soon as you receive them. Typically, cypress trees are not seeded directly in the soil, but are planted as 1- or 2-year-old trees. Make sure you water the bare-root varieties immediately after they arrive and continuously after planting for the first year. Remove or mow weeds to keep the area under the trees free of vegetation. Create a firebreak around them, if they are in an area susceptible to fires. This hands-on care will usually guarantee that your cypress trees will thrive.

Things You'll Need

  • Cypress tree

References

  • University of Floriday IFAS Extension: Planting Cypress
  • UF School of Forest Resources & Conservation: Cypress: Florida's Majestic and Beneficial Wetlands Tree
Keywords: growing cypress trees, how to plant a cypress tree, baldcypress tree for wetlands, pondcypress tree

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.