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How to Plant Bald Cypress Trees

bald cypress image by FFprod66 from

Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees flourish in the wetlands of the Southeastern region of the country, particularly Florida. This deciduous conifer produces “knees” around the base of the tree when grown in wet areas, but the bald cypress will also grow in dry areas (without the knees). Planting bald cypress requires planning, since this tree can reach heights ranging from 60 to well over 100 feet with spreads up to 60 feet, and live for hundreds of years. Bald cypresses grow best in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 10.

Designate a planting site large enough for the fully grown bald cypress tree. Use areas providing full sun and moist, acidic soil.

Clear the planting region of all vegetation and debris. Dig a planting hole for the bald cypress that is double the width of the root ball (or container) and the same depth.

Inspect the root system of the bald cypress before placing it in the hole. Cut off any weak or damaged roots, and loosen any twisted roots. Place the tree in the hole.

Fill the hole part way with the soil your removed and then soak with water. Finish filling the hole with soil and then saturate with water again. This removes any pockets of air and settles the soil around the bald cypress’s root ball.

Make a watering ring 4 inches tall encircling the tree’s planting hole, if planting in dry areas. Cover this area with 3 or more inches of mulch. Fill the ring with water any time the top few inches of soil is dry for the first season.

Plant Bald Cypress Trees In Water

Native to stream banks, moist woodlands and seasonally flooded lowlands across the southeastern United States, the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is well-known for developing protruding "knees" or angular roots in mucky soil. Therefore, plant young bald cypress trees at water's edge on firm soil or wait until a dry period lowers the water level. The USDA recommends air temperatures between 35 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and winds less than 10 mph. Also wear rubber gloves since they help with grip and traction when handling the shovel or tree. Dig a hole deep and wide enough to house the root ball of the bald cypress tree. Remove the bald cypress tree from the container and place into the planting hole.

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