Bald Cypress


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i recently acquired a Bald Cypress and the foliage came to me light green. i was told this was indicative of problems. What can i do? i should note that i live in Kyle, TX.
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Much depends on the shade of green, and whether the foliage looks healthy otherwise. For example, dark green along the veins with light green elsewhere can mean iron deficiency. But an overall light green may just mean new foliage.

Can you post a picture? That would help people answer your question.
i recently acquired a Bald Cypress and the foliage came to me light green. i was told this was indicative of problems. What can i do? i should note that i live in Kyle, TX.

The feathery foliage of BC is usually a lighter shade of green, especially in the earlier part of the spring/summer. Kind of a fresh spring green. Yellow is a different story.

A photo and a little info on how you received it may help with the diagnosis if there is a problem. Trees that are dug with the foliage on will show stress. It may also show discoloration if it was allowed to dry out, improperly collected, overheated during shipping, wind-whipped in the back of a truck, used to poke a gator, etc.

i will try to get a pic today. i received this tree from Behr a former member of this website. My dad passed away unexpectedly on May 15, 2009. As if to add insult to injury we had to make a family decision to place his trees into the hands of one that can give them adequate care. Though i am brand new to bonsai - i opted to keep Behr's bald cypress as letting that go felt like the last indignity for me. However, if i can't do this tree justice i will accept that and put it into better hands. The tree was used to being watered every morning - when Behr left us i began taking over the watering process of his trees. My lack of knowledge makes me wonder if i watered this particular tree too much - thinking this tree grows in the swamp - the tree was located so that it would get full sun all day. There was a week where it didn't get proper watering at all due to water restrictions in our area.
i now have the tree located underneath an arbor that has star jasmine growing atop it. i added a misting system going the length of this arbor. The cypress gets morning sun and afternoon sun until about 2 p.m. through the jasmine.
The person that came to get Behr's trees stated that the tree is in a perfect location and stated that it needed fish emoltion or a product called hasta gro which is 6-12-6. He stated that it wasn't looking healthy.
i have read online that 10-10-10 fertilizers are best for the cypress and that watering above the tree (like rain) are best as well. i run the mister on the tree usually after 3p.m. so that i don't scorch it while it's in the sun and usually 2-3 times a day for approx. 5-7 minutes. i water it in the morning usually until i see water coming to the top of the pot.
Again i will try to get a picture either today or tomorrow. Thankyou for responding so quickly -
Pictures are available in an album entitled - Sick Cypress? Thanks, Lisa

I am sorry for your recent loss and understand why you would want to keep the tree as a lasting legacy. I think bonsai are very meaningful in that way.

From the photo and the history you provided the tree appears to be chlorotic. It could also be weakened somewhat by the period of dryness/stress that it went through. I would feed the tree, give it a little protection from full afternoon sun until it greens up a bit more. During the summer, BC can be placed in a shallow pan of water. I have several pre-bonsai growing fully submerged in a water garden. This will keep it from drying out during water restrictions. They are pretty tough trees. Watch the water and feeding and hopefully it will thrive for you.

Lisa I am a member of the SA Bonsai Club and have tried calling to find out what help any of us can offer...Behr was a much loved and respected Artist and Member..Any of us at the club would be happy to guide you. Please PM me here with a contact number.
Irene Britton
Hi Lisa - thank you for joining the site. I wanted to add that Behr had many friends in the community, and he will be sorely missed :( I am sure that a fellow bonsai enthusiast who ends up with any of his trees will do his/her best to maintain them as a lasting memory to a great person. Bonsai is an interesting hobby because trees will greatly outlive any individual bonsai keeper. I develop my trees with the understanding that there will probably be a day when the trees go to someone else. If I do a good job, that other person may even want them :)

In the case of a bald cypress (before we see the photos) it is impossible to overwater them. They are one of the few trees that can grow with their roots completely submerged in water. It is more possible to UNDER water them than to overwater them. Let it sit in a bucket or pan of water and then you won't have to worry about it drying out in the hot Texas summer.

If the tree is stressed, especially if it might have suffered root shock recently, be very careful about fertilizer. Do not fertilize bonsai like a garden - because the trees are kept in small pots it is very easy to overfertilize and burn or kill the tree. Avoid chemical fertilizers entirely, and use organic if possible. If you want to use a product like Miracle Grow, always water your trees first, and then use Miracle Grow at half strength in solution. Bald Cypress likes acidic soil, so an acid fertilizer like Miracid would also work well (or else you can use an acidic soil mix with a lot of peat in it).

Here is some info from another site on Bald Cypress and Chlorosis:

Needles Turn Yellow - When Bald Cypress needles turn yellow in the middle of the growing season, the tree may be suffering from chlorosis. New growth at the ends of twigs is slowed and the tree develops a stunted appearance. Damage is more severe and obvious on new growth rather than established growth. There is a real possibility that entire branches will die, and eventually the whole tree might succumb if the condition is not corrected.

Probable Causes
Chlorosis - Usually chlorosis is caused by either lack of iron in the soil or its presence in a form that the tree can not take up into its system. Afflicted Bald Cypress may need slightly more acid soil to improve its access to iron, so add peat moss, sulfur or used coffee grounds to lower soil pH. Avoid using limestone or wood ashes that make soil more alkaline.
Sorry to hear of your loss. The loss of a parent is hard to bear. I lost my father ten years ago but I still reflect on him often.
If the foliage is light yellowish green then I would not worry, because this is the way new foliage appears. This is, for me at least, one of the the nicer aspects of the tree. As the foligage begins to harden off and mature then it becomes a good green. I have my one BC planted in the ground for fast development. I water it, flood it, and generally try to keep the soil wet. But on the other hand, in my research, I've found that BC grow much further north and are generally drought tolerant. I would watch the soil pH. You would be able to do this by obtaining a soil pH meter. They also come in combo soil water meters. Since its a BC if the meter said "don't water", I'd water anyways. If the meter said "water", I'd water at least twice that day. You could amend the soil pH through many methods. Addition of white vinegar to the water you use, Miracid or an organic acid lover fert., or through a soil acidifer product.
With a little luck and much care and love, perhaps the BC will be a legacy to your own children.
Best wishes,
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