Managed to kill a bald cypress.....

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....by over watering. Beautiful weeping bald cypress. Leaves started changing color and I pulled it from the pot. All feeder roots rotted, just pulled off in handfuls of mush.

I never knew that a tree that lives with roots completely submerged in water for all of it's life could be over watered and killed.

It's killing me also. RIP
 

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rockm

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So sorry to hear the news. Nice tree. As for the cause of death, I don't think it was overwatering, well not in the classic sense.

"roots completely submerged in water for all of it's life could be over watered"

I think the cause is here, but it's not the quantity of water, but I'd wager its temperature. Hot water kills roots...Water in a pan heats up considerably in July and August. I stopped submerging my trees ten years ago when I noticed their foliage was beginning to yellow and brown prematurely in mid-August. The water in their pans was heating up and retaining that heat through the night.
For a tree to work most efficiently, root temperatures should be able to drop into the seventies at night...

REALLY hot water retards and even kills off roots...Warm water also can't hold as much oxygen as colder water. The warmer the water, the less O2 it has dissolved in it. Water in a pan in the sun, or even in partial shade, can heat tremendously reaching temperatures hotter than the air temperature.
 

Colorado Slim

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heartbreaking... sorry to hear. A friend on another forum lives in texas, he's lost 3 or 4 trees this year from heat...
 

mcpesq817

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Mac,

Very sorry to hear about your BC. Looked like a very nice tree.

Can you talk about your soil and watering regimen? Did you have it sitting in a pan of water? I ask because I am not sure that BC are prone to root rot if overwatered. Mine are watered every day and are in a mix of 50% organic (25% potting soil and 25% pine bark) and 50% inorganic (turface and pumice mix), and they couldn't be happier.

If yours was sitting in a pan of water, I wouldn't be surprised that you had the issue that rockm mentioned. It's been brutally hot this year. You can get an idea of how hot water can get if you turn on a water hose that's been sitting in the sun.
 
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Mac,

Very sorry to hear about your BC. Looked like a very nice tree.

Can you talk about your soil and watering regimen? Did you have it sitting in a pan of water? I ask because I am not sure that BC are prone to root rot if overwatered. Mine are watered every day and are in a mix of 50% organic (25% potting soil and 25% pine bark) and 50% inorganic (turface and pumice mix), and they couldn't be happier.

If yours was sitting in a pan of water, I wouldn't be surprised that you had the issue that rockm mentioned. It's been brutally hot this year. You can get an idea of how hot water can get if you turn on a water hose that's been sitting in the sun.

The tree is about 28" tall. The pot is roughly 4" deep X 19" long X 16" wide. The growing medium I had it in was ca. 80% expanded shale, called STALITE. 20% composted pine bark.

Not sitting in a pan of water, sitting on wooden bonsai shelves. Got about 4-5 hrs of sun a day, mostly in the afternoon.

Watered every day around 5:00PM until water ran out the drain holes in the pot. Fertilized about every two weeks alternating with fish emulsion and water soluble chemical fertilizer. One dose of micrhrozoa (sp?) in the spring when leafed out. One dose of trace elements in the spring before leaf out.

I had the tree alive for 4 years. 3 of them in a bonsai pot.

Rockm's comment turned a light on in my head. I water with a hose that runs about 75 ft. across the yard to my bonsai site. Normally half of the hose is in the shade and half in the full sun. The shady part of the hose is closest to the bonsai. I usually will water with the hose until I feel the water starting to get warm through the watering wand. I then put the water on the ground until the very hot water passes on out and I start getting cool water flowing again. There is the possibility that I didn't notice the change in temperature soon enough and put some very hot water in that pot. I can't say I did but I sure can't say that I didn't.

One killer detail is that this tree was selected by Robert Stevens on the Bonsai Nut web site to critique. I entered it in their contest and it was selected by Robert to give opinions and make suggestions on how to handle it. He even took the time to make a vert of how he saw the tree's development. I studied and studied his comments and his concept and was looking forward to it's future. It really is devastating to loose a tree with such a wonderful potential. That trunk is one of a kind and weeping bald cypress that size don't show up on the market that often.

Mac
 
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LordEOfBeckley

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That trunk is one of a kind and weeping bald cypress that size don't show up on the market that often.

Sorry about the loss... I thought I lost a BC earlier in the year (overfeeding?). I cut all the dead branches off and within a month I started to get new buds popping. Turns out that I did lose about the upper half or so, but the lower part is growing strong. I keep meaning to post images to get opinions about possibly using some of the dead upper part (as a jin?) to mimic damage that occurred in nature.

Anyway... Is a "weeping bald cypress" a subspecies of BC? I always thought it was just in the way it was styled.

Thanks
 

rockm

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"Not sitting in a pan of water, sitting on wooden bonsai shelves. Got about 4-5 hrs of sun a day, mostly in the afternoon.

OK. I jumped to a conclusion from the earlier post that mentioned sitting with its roots submerged all its life. I didn't read it correctly. You were talking about the species in general. I thought it was this specific tree...

"80% expanded shale, called STALITE. 20% composted pine bark."

A VERY lean mix for a BC...Could it have dried out, given the four to five hours of afternoon sun and record July temps (this July was the hottest on record here in N.Va...which isn't too far from you) I use a 70 percent organic (pine mulch fines and commercial potting soil mix) 15 percent haydite and 15 percent large-grained quartz sand.

FWIW, some individual BC in the wild have a somewhat weeping habit and some cultivars have been cloned for that characteristic by the nursery trade and sold as "weeping" BC. There is no sub-species of BC that has a weeping growth habit.
 

rockm

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That isn't a subspecies. If I'm not mistaken, it is a named clone (cutting taken from an original parent plant (s) that had the specific trait for weeping growth) adapted by the nursery trade. "Cascade Falls" is the same Taxodium distichum species as regular bald cypress. It is similar to T.D. "Shawnee Brave" that has a columnular growth habit and is a trademarked clone.
 
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"Not sitting in a pan of water, sitting on wooden bonsai shelves. Got about 4-5 hrs of sun a day, mostly in the afternoon.

OK. I jumped to a conclusion from the earlier post that mentioned sitting with its roots submerged all its life. I didn't read it correctly. You were talking about the species in general. I thought it was this specific tree...

"80% expanded shale, called STALITE. 20% composted pine bark."

A VERY lean mix for a BC...Could it have dried out, given the four to five hours of afternoon sun and record July temps (this July was the hottest on record here in N.Va...which isn't too far from you) I use a 70 percent organic (pine mulch fines and commercial potting soil mix) 15 percent haydite and 15 percent large-grained quartz sand.

FWIW, some individual BC in the wild have a somewhat weeping habit and some cultivars have been cloned for that characteristic by the nursery trade and sold as "weeping" BC. There is no sub-species of BC that has a weeping growth habit.

I assure you it didn't dry out. I am retired, I look at my trees a miniumum of two or three times a day.

When I removed the tree from the bonsai pot the lower 1" was wet, hence my conclusion that over watering caused the root rot.

However your suggestion about hot water turned the light on in the attic and it is quite possible I cooked those tender roots.

If it was a problem with a lean mix I picture it being weak with growth and yellowing. What happened here is a few leaves on the top turned a light brown and then a few more a little further down turned light brown. Then the upper ones died. I took it out of the pot and could pull handfulls of rotted fine feeder roots off in clumps, they were all dead and rotting. I just don't think that would come from a lean soil mix and I did feed the tree every few weeks with dilute fertilizers. I also have several other trees in a similar mix and they are doing just fine.

I don't have time to track it down right now but this subspecies came from Australia. One tree that some guy bought and planted in his yard turned out to be this tree. It is the only one that has ever been found and all of this variety has that one tree as it's source.
Mac
 

Dav4

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I don't have time to track it down right now but this subspecies came from Australia. One tree that some guy bought and planted in his yard turned out to be this tree. It is the only one that has ever been found and all of this variety has that one tree as it's source.
Mac

Mark is right, it's not a sub species, but rather, a weeping cultivar of Taxodium distichium. Pretty much ALL named cultivars of every landscaping plant- perennial, annual, tree, shrub, etc., started as a "one of a kind" variant from the species, found either as a seedling, sport, or witches broom, that was then propagated asexually. I had a "Cascade Falls" planted in my yard in MA before I moved to GA. I had a "Shawnee Brave" too:D

PS sorry about the tree...it had a great trunk
 

rockm

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I'm not trying to somehow place blame for the tree's death, only suggesting things that might have killed it. Overwatering is simply not an issue with BC in containers, especially in the free draining soil mix you're using. Your idea that the hot water from the hose is probably on the money.

"I don't have time to track it down right now but this subspecies came from Australia."

FWIW, Bald Cypress is strictly a native North American species. It is not native to Australia. While this particular tree may have its individual origin in Australia, it's originally from a North America ancestor imported in the last century or so and cloned there for its weeping growth habit.

This is a cultivar, not a subspecies. There is a difference. Subspecies is a specific term that indicates a separate race of a species, that is genetically distiguishable from the main population, typically based on geographic location. Its takes thousands of years for such genetic diversity to develop for a subspecies to branch off of the main species.

A cultivar is a plant or group of plants selected by man for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation--typically by cloning--cuttings are clones... Cultivars are the product of direct human selection, not natural selection.

All this sounds kinda beside the point, but it's really not. This plant is not of a separate race of BC that has different requirements or needs or adaptations.
 

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