Questions about a Bald Cypress. Help !!

edprocoat

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I obtained a Bald Cypress from a nursery in about a gallon pot that was about 2and1/2 feet tall. I cut it down in sections and treated the ends with rooting hormone and stuck them in soil to get some smaller plants. The base I left at about 12 inches high, it has a slender trunk. I noticed it was infested with small black ants the next day so I pulled the base out and washed away the soil. Upon removing the base from the pot I seen that under the soil line about an inch the trunk almost doubles in size and then another inch down it becomes two trunks the size of the trunk above the soil top, a little over an inch in diameter, this extends for three inches then goes to the bottom of the pot where it has grown roots that are circular around the bottom and the shape of the pot about a quarter of an inch to 3/8s of an inch. These roots look very unique but I do not know what to do with them. I seen in another thread here by Smoke how he air layered roots on his tree. I am afraid to try this method on this Blad Cypress as i read where the roots weep saps out when they are not dormant and actually bleed out and kill the tree so you must cut them while dormant.

I don't know whether to cut these roots or just pull the tree up exposing the branched roots below the surface and leave it like that. These roots may even look great planted where the circular ones are on the surface too. Any advice would be appreciated, especially as I have never found a Bald Cypress before and have always wanted one to work with. I would really hate to kill this tree.

I did not get a picture of it out of the pot, this is a drawing to give you an idea of what I am talking about. Be prepared, as I am no artist!


ed
ed
 

rockm

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you're surely going to kill it by bareooting and hard pruning it now. Put it back in soil immediately. Stop messing with it NOW. Put it in a sheltered area for now. Keep it moist. You will have to find a sheltered area --preferably frost free--to store it for the winter come mid-november. You will have little success air layering the tree now. It cannot be kept indoors for the winter.

WAIT until spring to do ANYTHING more.
 

edprocoat

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you're surely going to kill it by bareooting and hard pruning it now. Put it back in soil immediately. Stop messing with it NOW. Put it in a sheltered area for now. Keep it moist. You will have to find a sheltered area --preferably frost free--to store it for the winter come mid-november. You will have little success air layering the tree now. It cannot be kept indoors for the winter.

WAIT until spring to do ANYTHING more.

Thanks for the reply. Its been back in the pot a little over a month now. The cuttings seem to be rooting. I planned on leaving it until the spring anyway. What I was wondering was how to trim the large circular roots, or if I even should. I did not plan to remove the tree from the pot at all this year, but it was loaded with little black ants. The cuttings were an afterthought anyway, I was not overly concerned if they took or not.

The problem with cutting the roots in the spring is from what I have read at all sites and sources I can find, even a state of Missouri .edu site about propagation of these trees is that cuttings or layers work fine up until autumn, but you should only trim the roots when dormant as they " bleed " and will kill the trees during the growing season. I guess I will leave the roots alone for another season and decide next winter whether or not to cut them. I probably will pull the plant up to where the double trunk below the soil is above ground just as it is so good looking a base.

ed
 
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rockm is correct here... a good time to do root cutting is very eary spring. Usually I cut right before buds start to form, cutting now will leave your tree trying to recover in the winter, it's most vulnerable time. Having said that, because you just repotted, and I know, only because of black ants, as well as hacked it down, I would wait a year and do it not this spring, but the following.
 

JudyB

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Ed, the first tree I collected was a BC. I sort of knew what I was doing, but I know now that I probably would have lost it if it'd been a different kind of tree. I chopped the heck out of the roots.... BC are very forgiving. BTW it was spring when I did it. So I don't think you'll have any trouble once you get this one healthy to chop what you need to.
 

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you should only trim the roots when dormant as they " bleed " and will kill the trees during the growing season.

Don't go back the THAT site! That comment is absolute nonsense.

But in Ohio, you will have to give a bald cypress a LOT of protection when they're growing in pots. I'd bury the pots in mulch or hay before the first hard freeze and keep them there all winter -- especially the new cuttings.
 

edprocoat

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Ed, the first tree I collected was a BC. I sort of knew what I was doing, but I know now that I probably would have lost it if it'd been a different kind of tree. I chopped the heck out of the roots.... BC are very forgiving. BTW it was spring when I did it. So I don't think you'll have any trouble once you get this one healthy to chop what you need to.

Thanks for the advice, I never have considered collecting one in the wild they are too beautiful a tree to remove. I seen this one in a nursery in Xenia Ohio and could not resist giving it a try as its the only one I have ever seen at a nursery. I am glad to hear they are forgiving, I have seen sites that show people collecting them with chains saws during the growing season from a swamp since I posted this and hoped that might be the case.

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edprocoat

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Don't go back the THAT site! That comment is absolute nonsense.

But in Ohio, you will have to give a bald cypress a LOT of protection when they're growing in pots. I'd bury the pots in mulch or hay before the first hard freeze and keep them there all winter -- especially the new cuttings.

I seen this on a few sites, the one that convinced me was the Missouri.edu site which was about propagating and transplanting these trees. As I said to Judyb earlier I have since run across several sites that show people who collect them in swamps and from river edges, they were cutting them off just below the ground with a chainsaw and loading them onto air boats wrapped in burlap bags, two had progressions over several years with the tree thriving. I have come to the conclusion that you just may not be able to believe everything you read online!

Now I hope everything works out all right for me with that Nigerian lady who helped me get the lottery winnings from her dead husbands estate, all I had to do was give her my account number and password ....:rolleyes:

ed
 

edprocoat

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I beleive I killed the tree, the bottom part with the nice split trunk. I noticed the two pieces with leaves I left at the top have turned brown while the cuttings I took from as fine branches with little heals on them are still green? I kept them all in a box I make for my bonsai in the fall with a grow light and keep it moist and warm that way. I do not know if its dead but I can not figure out why the cuttings would take, which are all little wisps no more thicker than average pencil lead, and the nice tree part would turn brown, not yellow like I read the leaves will turn before dropping. I am going to plant the wisps in the spring and abandon them for a few years. I hope the main part may be alive, but I doubt it. The weird part was when I took it out of the pot because of the ants the only place there was any fine roots came from the sides of the split trunk or roots as they were buried. The major roots that circled the bottom of the pot were from the size of a large drinking straw to about a 3/8's thick, the fine stuff that was there washed away with the ants so I assumed they were eating them. Very sad as I have not killed a tree since the beautiful Florida pine stump I collected many years ago and I really wanted this base. I will wait until the spring and see if it has just went dormant because of the abuse but I think its a goner.

ed
 
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ed,
I believe your tree has gone dormant. Scratch the bark with your finger nail, and see if it is green below, if so it is fine...
Your cuttings might act differently, that's not surprising... Your tree since you are in Ohio, should probally be going dormant by now.
 

jk_lewis

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Yes. It has merely gone dormant. It's about time, In Ohio. Don't bother scratching the bark. With a BC you'd have to scratch so hard you could disfigure the bark.

Meanwhile, stop messing with the tree. Give it GOOD winter protection, water sparingly and wait for spring.
 

edprocoat

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Thanks for the encouragement guys, I hope you are right! I will find out in the spring, wish me luck as I have never found one before for sale and this one is so neat at the base.

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edprocoat

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Man, I got used to thinking this tree had died so I just have not looked at since last week, nor have I watered it. Today I was thinking I better throw that thing away as its just taking up space and with it gone I might be able to convince the old ball and chain I NEEDED another plant to mess with. I am not very into the deciduous type trees as they always look dead to me when bare, I have a little Catlin Elm group planting which stays more or less evergreen as I am always in warm climates. Well I went over to grab the Bald Cypress and toss it into a trash bag and there were two new shoots coming out at the top near where I chopped it !!!! I am thrilled this thing has lived and will try and get a few pics of it up soon. I had to bring it inside tonight as we are under a freeze warning from 4:00 am to 8:00 am sunday morning. This tree is really neat looking up top, I still do not know what to do about the circular roots, they are all the roots it had when I repotted it and they are pretty big sized, hopefully it has grown or is growing some newer fine roots.

Has anyone ever had to deal with circular roots on a Bald Cypress before, I should have taken a picture of them but the drawing in this thread is pretty accurate of what they looked like, any help from you guys would be appreciated! I do not plan on cutting them this year, I want to let it grow out some and see what branches it may develop, I hope to keep it fairly small which may be tough with this species but I like small trees.

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edprocoat

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Here are the pics I promised of the new buds on my Bald Cypress.
Front Side?
6860027649_34f2ec5351.jpg
Other side.
6860004575_9edf5fd095.jpg
For size reference.
6860010217_085d96a335.jpg

Its Aliiiive ! :cool:
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tmmason10

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Good to hear. Maybe you can tell the ball and chain it's dead and get yourself another project anyways!
 

edprocoat

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Good to hear. Maybe you can tell the ball and chain it's dead and get yourself another project anyways!

Get behind me satan ! Trying to tempt me to lie to my spouse for something so trivial...:)

Maybe if it were to go fishing when her parents come to visit, that would be worth eternal damnation.

ed
 
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OK, You are too late this year, it is already leafing out. Don't mess with the roots. Take care of it till next late winter/early spring. When you see buds forming, not opening just forming, deal with the roots.

Take it out of the pot, wash all the soil off of it. Cut all the circling roots off back to 2-3" long. Cut off any roots that go straight down. Cut off the bottom of the two main roots where the thing will sit in a bonsai pot that is of the depth that you envision it living in. Put a little root hormone on all the places you cut roots. Put it back in a pot, a training pot would be appropriate at this stage. Keep it frost free and keep it where the roots won't freeze, but let it be cold, that won't hurt it at all.

Do that and the buds will open a little later but they will open and it will grow a birds nest of fine roots. Don't monkey with the sprouts and new branches that form except for the ones that will come out down low on the trunk, just rub them off with a finger when they pop out of the bark. The year after that you will have a very nice tree to work with.
 

edprocoat

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I cut off the circling roots the day before Mac in Oak Ridge posted the above response and repotted it. I then seen his post and figured now I had killed it for sure, but this thing has grown like a weed. back when I thought it had died I re-chopped teh trunk hoping that maybe less trunk would need less energy to survive, and besides that i wanted it smaller anyway as I am not to fond of big Bonsai. Its 6 inches tall where I chopped it and as of tonight its now 16 inches tall at the top of the slightly higher new leader.
Here is what it looks like now.

BaldNow by edsnapshot, on Flickr
This is the other side.

Baldnow2 by edsnapshot, on Flickr

Its growing like a weed, I do not know how I can keep it as small as what i hoped for, i wanted to try and develop the top as a flat top at maybe 12-13 inches tall with branching below that, the fast growth rate has me intimidated.

ed
 

tmmason10

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I cut off the circling roots the day before Mac in Oak Ridge posted the above response and repotted it. I then seen his post and figured now I had killed it for sure, but this thing has grown like a weed. back when I thought it had died I re-chopped teh trunk hoping that maybe less trunk would need less energy to survive, and besides that i wanted it smaller anyway as I am not to fond of big Bonsai. Its 6 inches tall where I chopped it and as of tonight its now 16 inches tall at the top of the slightly higher new leader.
Here is what it looks like now.

BaldNow by edsnapshot, on Flickr
This is the other side.

Baldnow2 by edsnapshot, on Flickr

Its growing like a weed, I do not know how I can keep it as small as what i hoped for, i wanted to try and develop the top as a flat top at maybe 12-13 inches tall with branching below that, the fast growth rate has me intimidated.

ed
Damn that's what it grew in a month? Very nice.
 

rockm

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Well, you have discovered why BC makes excellent, bullet-proof bonsai. They are tough and extremely vigorous trees.

You have to decide where you want to take the plants (BTW, BC make very poor small bonsai for the reasons you're seeing). A flat top requires a network of upper branching. You have the beginnings of that in those two leaders at the top. Repeated chops on those will force backbudding below. However, they need to thicken a bit more. Allow them to extend for a few months, then chop them back. Repeat this process over the years to produce the network of top branching.

You're also going to have to sort those roots out. You have what look to be two dominant roots at the side with the central trunk between. This will produce pronounced inverse taper in the trunk very quickly. You have to decide which roots to keep.
 

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