Bald Cypress Info

digger714

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Hello everyone. Ive been looking for some info on Bald Cypress. I just got my first one last week, and am wondering about care. Mainly sun? This tree has been in this container for 3 years recovering from collecting. I want to change the soil first. Also, it has one side that im pretty sure is dead, and will be good for some carving. It would probably be some time before i do any of that, but think it should be in some better soil. I was told it has been growing free since the collecting, and doesnt look like its done too much. Well, some of the branches are pretty thick, but the top died back, and im thinking i will need another leader. Should i chop it again, or just wait for a new one to come out near the top, then after it thickens, taper the cut into it? The first thing is soil though. Then how long to wait before doing any more, and the best time of year to do it. Thanks alot for any advice.
 

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digger714

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After looking at it some more, i think the dead top is in line with the part of the trunk that is dead. So, should i make a new branch on the other side of the tree the new leader? if so, the chop will be in the opposite direction, or is it not possible to do since part of the trunk is dead? Maybe I should do a lightning strike with carving, and jin the top? Thanks again.
 
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The soil it is in is "natures helper" Aquired from hd we put 40 more in this type of soil and they all survived.You want to do all major work in the spring b4 bud break the soil wil be fine for the rest of this year but next year in spring I would remove all of the soil and repot in to a general decideous mix and put more holes in the pot (in the bottom) this is what will be done with all others that were collected when this one was.You are correct with the top being dead in line with the trunk .That was the live vein that fed that part of the tree. I was going to carve it and lime sulfer the wood to give appreance of lightnining strike.You could also turn it around and use the other side as the front if you did not want to carve it. You can re chop it but the heal will be 3/4 away around and take a while to close up around the dead area. Next year when you re pot it the live vein that is at the edges of the dead will start to swell and begin to close over the dead part but it will take many years to fully enclose.
 

rockm

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Take Seth's advice for care.

BC have direct lines between branches and major roots. That's what causes the fluting (ridges) in the trunk. If you prune a branch too hard at the wrong time, you wind up killing the root beneath it. If roots are pruned too aggressively, or are damaged severely, the branching above will die. Don't know if that happened with this trunk, but it looks like the dieback on the trunk is pretty extensive...

This trunk has some serious potential, although you're going to have to work around the dead zone--put it in back.
 
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Kirk

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Check out Craig Coussin's book, Bonsai School. It has a chapter featuring Gary Marchal styling a BC. A google books search will pull up the chapter. The top was carved out to resemble a lightning strike. I saw this same tree a few months ago and the carved area has rotted out and the edges are starting to roll over nicely. When I saw your tree with the dead leader I was reminded of Gary's and thought you may find some inspiration with it.

My best,
Kirk
 

digger714

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Hey Seth, thanks alot everyone for the info. I was hoping youd be back. Thanks rockm. Ive heard about that book for 2 other things i was interested in, so i think it will be one ill get. Thanks for the info Kirk. Seth, what are the growths on the trunk called again? I know you said to leave them if i can. Here are a couple pics of them. The white scallop looking ones, which there are about 10 of, and the green mossy looking growths? Sorry the pics aren't any better. Guess its time to invest in a newer camera. Thanks again.
 

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rockm

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The white growth is ear fungus, which is typical on rotting wood. Won't hurt anything living. The green splotches are lichen. It won't hurt living tissue either. Both break down old wood. The presence of the ear fungus probably means the dead wood is staying a bit wet and might be spongy and rotted...
 
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rockm is right they are ear fungus and they formed this year earily when we got all the rain storms. They are on the upper part of the trunk and it is still solid no spongyness as of yet.they have not grown any larger since the rain subsided and I thought they added that much more character to the tree you see them on the large full size ones in nature as well. Some of them are edible but I am not sure wich ones.
 
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I'd leave them. They add a certain sexienest to the treel.

Cypress doesn't rot very much, although I have seen some rot in sapwood. The fungi are likely growing on old bark. Your photos show them growing where the bark is cracked. Those cracks have accumulated a small amount of debris and a mushroom spore or two. They will fall off when they are done consuming the pocket they found.
 

rockm

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Cypress can rot, sometimes quickly. The rate depends on the age of the tree. Younger trees--under 20 or 30 years--have not built up enough of the compound (cypressene) in their tissues that gives old growth cypress its resistance to rot.
 

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