Bald Cypress Winter Care

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Shohin
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Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8a
Through some good luck several bald cypress trees made it into several gardens in the NW this year - specifically the Portland area, Zone 8a. Oregon Bonsai has been growing pond cypress in the field for about 8 years now with success - even in an area that gets zero direct sunlight for several months each winter and snow/ice will stay on the ground for weeks (right Brent?).

So, I know that they will survive in the ground, but I am concerned about trees in pots. In our climate we will rarely if ever get below 25 degrees F, but I would not be surprise if we have two-three instances of a week or more where we will stay below freezing with trees and pots frozen solid.

In my case, my winter protection is to put all the pots next to each other on the ground, and only take precautions if it is going to get below the 25 degrees F or when freezing rain is coming. Last year I did nothing, other then move a couple during a wind storm. With a mostly NW native collection, no real problems have surfaced in our winter care (i.e. Jason doesn't even remove trees from benches and has no problems).

Now, with some of the above mentioned pond cypress' in mortar tubs and some bald cypress' in pots, do we need to take additional precaution to protect the roots of these trees? I believe we do. One local places his bald cypress, pot and all, into a slow moving stream section of his pond that doesn't freeze. I was thinking something like mulching them in place with 4" of bark mulch surrounding the pot. I was hoping some northern climate Nutters with experience could chime in and give some direction.

Thanx!
 

Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
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I was lucky enough to visit Guy Guidry at his nursery in Louisiana several years ago. His climate is rated USDA zone 8 and I don't think he protects his locally collected cypresses in any way. If I recall, pond cypresses may be slightly less hardy then your typical baldie and may require more protection. I have bald cypresses that have been growing in my yard here in zone 6 MA for several years and are doing great. When I finally pot them up, I plan on treating them like my other hardy trees; mulching the root zone after placing them either on my unnattached garage floor, or along the north side of my house which is actually well protected from winter winds. If I were in your position, I would go ahead and mulch the pots- it will certainly give you piece of mind. Good luck,

Dave
 

Martin Sweeney

Chumono
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Waxhaw, NC
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Rlist,

I am not a Northern Nutter, but our climate in Charlotte NC. sounds similar to yours as concerns winter low temps. The few bald cypress I grow are placed on the ground and mulched to the tops of the pots, with no mulch over the soils surface, in leaves. I keep them with all the other trees, and make sure all are well watered a couple of days before any extreme cold (temps in the mid-teens is usually as bad as it gets) arrives. Otherwise I water everything about once a week on average, unless we are getting plenty of rain. As Dav4 mentioned, I try to keep everything out of the worst of the winter winds as well. I pretty much treat them like everything else in the winter.

Can I ask you about overwintering Ponderosa? I plan on leaving it on the ground unmulched, although the pond basket it is in scares me a little. I want it to get some good cold exposure, as I expect it wants a good long dormancy, but am concerned about the roots being overexposed in a pond basket.

Regards,
Martin
 

rlist

Shohin
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Portland, OR
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Hey Martin. Thanks for the info. Getting some off-line advice and it is similar to yours and my thoughts. I think they's stay on the ground and get a little mulch for security.

As for Pondy, I place all of mine on the ground, pots all huddled together and then forget about them. I have 4 small ones in pond baskets - first year, so I am not sure what will happen, though I am not going to do anything additional. If you are concerned, slip it into a larger plastic pot with soil (i.e. pot in pot) for the winter. However, I would bet when you pull it out in spring the roots will have flooded the larger plastic pot.

Good luck!
 
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