Species Study - Taxodium distichum

Cajunrider

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I've been fascinated with this particular species. If you do a search on BonsaiNut, there are so many threads and posts on this species.
I found so much information on this thread: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/2019-season-bc-yamadori-mega-thread-d.36707/
And much inspiration from this thread: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/bald-cypress.30848/
After playing with this species for a few years I have learned some lessons.
  1. Forget about trying to grow BC from cuttings. Growing them from seeds is actually much much faster for most of us.
  2. BC from the big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart) and most nurseries have poor taper comparing to those grown from seeds myself. From seeds I can get to the size usually sold at the big box in less than 2 years (18 month average) and mine have much better taper and root spreads.
  3. Jury is still out on the dunking or not dunking. My sample experience of growing about 100 BCs so far (20 dunked, 20 not dunked, and 60 in ground) is inconclusive between the dunked and not dunked. However, the 40 in pots have more of my care and fertilization grew much faster than the plant it and forget it 60 in the ground. I suppose if I fertilize the ones in the ground they would grow fast too but I never did it.
  4. Don't be afraid of bare rooting BCs. I recommend checking and sorting out the roots of the seedling after the first year to make sure you have even root spread.
  5. Keep your soil shallow. If you transplant your BC and bury it too deep, it will readily form roots higher up the tree. You wind up with multi-tier roots that look wonky. Unless you desire wonky roots for your own design, don't do it.
  6. It is hard to develop the swamp buttress growing BCs in pot. If you really really want that buttress, get a collected BC.
  7. Don't be afraid to reach out to the members of BonsaiNut . The names of the distinguished members who know a lot about BCs are in the thread I list above.
Let me know what you have learned. I just collected some hulking stumps and will be documenting my finding in the future.
 

HorseloverFat

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I've been fascinated with this particular species. If you do a search on BonsaiNut, there are so many threads and posts on this species.
I found so much information on this thread: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/2019-season-bc-yamadori-mega-thread-d.36707/
And much inspiration from this thread: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/bald-cypress.30848/
After playing with this species for a few years I have learned some lessons.
  1. Forget about trying to grow BC from cuttings. Growing them from seeds is actually much much faster for most of us.
  2. BC from the big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart) and most nurseries have poor taper comparing to those grown from seeds myself. From seeds I can get to the size usually sold at the big box in less than 2 years (18 month average) and mine have much better taper and root spreads.
  3. Jury is still out on the dunking or not dunking. My sample experience of growing about 100 BCs so far (20 dunked, 20 not dunked, and 60 in ground) is inconclusive between the dunked and not dunked. However, the 40 in pots have more of my care and fertilization grew much faster than the plant it and forget it 60 in the ground. I suppose if I fertilize the ones in the ground they would grow fast too but I never did it.
  4. Don't be afraid of bare rooting BCs. I recommend checking and sorting out the roots of the seedling after the first year to make sure you have even root spread.
  5. Keep your soil shallow. If you transplant your BC and bury it too deep, it will readily form roots higher up the tree. You wind up with multi-tier roots that look wonky. Unless you desire wonky roots for your own design, don't do it.
  6. It is hard to develop the swamp buttress growing BCs in pot. If you really really want that buttress, get a collected BC.
  7. Don't be afraid to reach out to the members of BonsaiNut . The names of the distinguished members who know a lot about BCs are in the thread I list above.
Let me know what you have learned. I just collected some hulking stumps and will be documenting my finding in the future.
Love It!!!

Thanks for participating!

I've never grown this particular species.

*austrian bodybuilder accent* Post some pictures! I want to see the stumps!

😂
 

HorseloverFat

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Also.. way down here you gotta "summon folks" for quicker results..

If he was around, @Forsoothe! would chime in about Taxodium..

Also, I think of @Zach Smith when I think of BC...

@Leo in N E Illinois has a pocket of organic information on these "bad boys"

The tree that i think of INSTANTLY, in the first flash.. is @Cadillactaste 's ... I appreciate that less-formal cypress approach, personally.

There are MANY MORE with incredible trees and lots of information and YEARS of experience.. but let's start smaller.

🤓

I had a conversation with a copperhead, coiled in a buttress hole of a Bald Cypress at First Landings park. 😂 He was a cool guy, he meant business to threats, though... luckily I convey myself in the correct manner to wild animals.

Also

Has anyone considered screen-training the seedlings... or would the foliage make that... arduous?
 

HorseloverFat

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Wow!

Those will be real nice!

How is COLLECTING bald cypress...?

Seems.... wet.
 
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I am also seriously thinking about putting one of those stumps into the ground permanently and develop it like a niwaki. This could be fun.
Dunno what a niwaki is (yes ill Google it), but if it's an in-ground tree that looks like a bonsai, there is a BC in a Lowes parking lot locally that is exactly that. I saw it yesterday, would have snagged a pic if I had powers of premonition 😅😅
 
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Growing 3 at the moment, 1 in the ground, 2 in pond baskets (because I didn't know jack when starting all this). The ones in baskets will be intermittently flooded to just below soil line through the summer. Not trying to be scientific.

My real question for the study group would be this -

I have ~10 seeds that germinated (from seeds I collected from parking lot BC or PC. I probably looked like an idiot driving around the lot). Anyway, they germed in sphagnum moss. I'm not really sure my next steps. I had one earlier in the season that I transplanted to a peat plug, but it got too tall for my humidity dome and the leaves got crispy. I'd like to not make the same mistake x10. So, how do you treat your seedlings, if you even bother to grow them?
 

Cajunrider

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Growing 3 at the moment, 1 in the ground, 2 in pond baskets (because I didn't know jack when starting all this). The ones in baskets will be intermittently flooded to just below soil line through the summer. Not trying to be scientific.

My real question for the study group would be this -

I have ~10 seeds that germinated (from seeds I collected from parking lot BC or PC. I probably looked like an idiot driving around the lot). Anyway, they germed in sphagnum moss. I'm not really sure my next steps. I had one earlier in the season that I transplanted to a peat plug, but it got too tall for my humidity dome and the leaves got crispy. I'd like to not make the same mistake x10. So, how do you treat your seedlings, if you even bother to grow them?
They grow fast. Here is what I did to grow 100 BC from seeds. I buy the 1 cubic foot Miracle Grow potting soil and cut the bags in half while they are still flat. Then I stand them on ends turning each into two grow bags. I stabbed each bags a few times near the bottom for drain. Transplanted into those bags, my BC seedlings grow to 3 ft or more in just one year.
 
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Whoa cool idea.

How big when transplanted? Mine have just opened up with the first 5 "false" needles spread wide, no further growth yet
 

Cajunrider

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Growth pattern study
Side by side comparison. Both trees planted from seedlings 15 years ago about 15 ft apart. Both collected at the same time and chopped at the same height. Both have 9” base at the soil line.

At the cut the one on dryer land is 4”
3F564735-1926-400D-B1C7-752297DBFBA0.jpeg


The one submerged in a pond is 3”
E453E3C2-C70C-443A-9E08-6B8E823148F6.jpeg
 
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So the submerged one has better taper, very interesting!

Do I spy a Christmas cactus in the background or something else? Pic #1
 

19Mateo83

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@Cajunrider does the time of the year for collection matter that much with bald cypresses? I notice you are still collecting and chopping these guys after the buds have extended. Do they recover the same with later collection times and do you do anything differently once they are collected?
 

Cajunrider

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So the submerged one has better taper, very interesting!

Do I spy a Christmas cactus in the background or something else? Pic #1
The submerged on has the same size base but are decidedly smaller. If you look at the trunks you will find the growth rings tighter. Although I post only pictures of two trees. This is what I see in several hundred acres which were planted at the same time so the observation is legit as far as I am concerned.

Yep there was a Christmas cactus in the back ground.
 

Cajunrider

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@Cajunrider does the time of the year for collection matter that much with bald cypresses? I notice you are still collecting and chopping these guys after the buds have extended. Do they recover the same with later collection times and do you do anything differently once they are collected?
I will be able to tell after a few months. These were collected when opportunity arose. I can’t choose when to collect. Left to me I would collect before bud break for best survival chance.
 

19Mateo83

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I will be able to tell after a few months. These were collected when opportunity arose. I can’t choose when to collect. Left to me I would collect before bud break for best survival chance.
It will be good information to know, I’m looking forward to the results of your labors. I’m rooting for you and for them. They are impressive stumps!
 

Cajunrider

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The submerged on has the same size base but are decidedly smaller. If you look at the trunks you will find the growth rings tighter. Although I post only pictures of two trees. This is what I see in several hundred acres which were planted at the same time so the observation is legit as far as I am concerned.

Yep there was a Christmas cactus in the back ground.
This is consistent with my knowledge as a wood worker and boat builder. The prized lumber for building wooden work boat is deadhead cypress which comes from huge BC grown in the swamp and fell into the water and sunk in the mud. Their growth rings are super tight and they are very resistant to rot.
 

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