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How to Plant Cypress Tree Seeds

cypress tree and alligator in blackwater swamp image by Jorge Moro from

Cypress trees have provided one of the most valuable timber trees in the world for centuries. The trees also offer many ecological benefits, such as a wildlife habitat, flood control, tropical storm break and water purification aid. Landowners often plant cypress trees for the financial gains of harvesting a lucrative timber crop from otherwise unusable wetlands. Start cypress tree seedlings indoors. Avoid planting cypress tree seeds directly outside, according to the University of Florida Extension, because of the high risk of failure.

Contact the Office of the State Engineer to determine if a hydrology report has been conducted in the area you are considering planting cypress trees. Many states have local hydrology reports on file that the land owner can use to determine the areas suitability for cypress growth. All states have an Office of the State Engineer that specialize in the study of the state's hydrology. If a report is not on file, they can refer you to a hydrology engineer or water resource engineer in your local area who can perform a study of the area.

Hire an engineering hydrologist or water resources engineer in you local area to conduct a hydrology report to determine the wetlands suitability for cypress tree growth if you are unable to acquire a report from the Office of the State Engineer. A hydrology check should be done prior to starting the cypress trees since it can take several months to complete. Many factors must be taken into consideration prior to planting a cypress tree, including how much of the year the area is covered with water and the water depth. Water should be close to the soil surface to successfully grow cypress trees, but the site should not be completely flooded for longer then a month. Cypress seedlings cannot withstand more than a month of emergence in water.

Wrap cypress tree seeds in a damp paper towel and seal them in a plastic freezer bag. Place the plastic bag in the refrigerator for 90 days. Cypress tree seeds require a period of cold to break dormancy.

Place each seed into a small starting container with all-purpose potting soil. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of moist soil. The soil should not feel soggy.

Place the seeds in a sunny, south-facing window. Maintain a room temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F.

Transplant seedlings outdoors when they are at least 6 inches tall and have several leaves. The sturdier the seedlings are at the time of transplant, the better the chance they will have of surviving. Seedlings that are allowed to develop for at least six months prior to transplanting outside stand the greatest chance of survival.


Purchase cypress seedlings from the Florida Division of Forestry, according to the University of Florida. Cypress seeds can be refrigerated for several years before planting.

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