Unconventional Bald Cypress with gnarly roots!

Mattlopez313

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Here is my newest acquisition! I have never seen anything like it. It has such a gnarly root system in comparison to every other BC I’ve been out there. What are your thoughts?

30A8229C-3FB6-4D99-B752-94A257978312.jpeg
 

sorce

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Everybody from the 313, put your motherplanting roots up and follow me!

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

penumbra

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It could be improved by removing a couple cross over and hooped roots.
Or you could put in in a tray of water and see if any of those develop into knees. I have a 30+ foot tall BC in a pond that threw up roots like that that turned into knees.
 

rockm

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You have a mess of a problem that needs sorting out. That kind of root system is not uncommon in container grown BC. It's a problem because it is not only ugly-- the entire tangle is only going to get worse.

Whoever originally potted this up basically just yanked it out of a plastic growing pot, threw it in a ceramic pot and lopped it way too low.

All that said, there is a potential decent trunk in there that you can bring out over a few years with repeated root reductions. as for the extending top growth, if you allow it all to grow out, you will wind up with severe inverse taper--a big knot where all those shoots come off the trunk. BC are extremely apically dominant and all those shoots will take off strongly.

You could ignore all this and opt for the 'unnusual' "odd" approach, but IMO that rarely works out
 

Mattlopez313

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You have a mess of a problem that needs sorting out. That kind of root system is not uncommon in container grown BC. It's a problem because it is not only ugly-- the entire tangle is only going to get worse.

Whoever originally potted this up basically just yanked it out of a plastic growing pot, threw it in a ceramic pot and lopped it way too low.

All that said, there is a potential decent trunk in there that you can bring out over a few years with repeated root reductions. as for the extending top growth, if you allow it all to grow out, you will wind up with severe inverse taper--a big knot where all those shoots come off the trunk. BC are extremely apically dominant and all those shoots will take off strongly.

You could ignore all this and opt for the 'unnusual' "odd" approach, but IMO that rarely works out

So as a plan of action when I go to repot this tree I’ll need to reduce the roots by 20% or so. In terms of the top, should I pick a lead and cut or wire the others? I need more direction for the top growth please!
 

rockm

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I would do a 80-90 percent root reduction focusing on sawing off the bottom 2/3 of the existing root mass. I'd then get rid of any roots in the remaining mass that grow upwards or out of the soil. I'd look to get a flat root pad, and reduce the number of smaller tangles underneath the trunk. In other words sort things out so they look more natural.

At the same time, I'd select ONE of those leaders on top to grow out as a future trunk--the thickest one on the left at the top in the photo looks to be a decent candidate to me.

BC are extremely resilient trees. Big ones are sawed out of the swamp with little or no roots. They regenerate easily given the right conditions. All this work should be done in roughly mid-late March (you don't give a location, but I assume you're somewhere in the U.S.?) Soil should be on the organic side...regular houseplant potting soil plus 20 percent bonsai soil works to keep the roots moist without being too soggy.
 

Mattlopez313

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I would do a 80-90 percent root reduction focusing on sawing off the bottom 2/3 of the existing root mass. I'd then get rid of any roots in the remaining mass that grow upwards or out of the soil. I'd look to get a flat root pad, and reduce the number of smaller tangles underneath the trunk. In other words sort things out so they look more natural.

At the same time, I'd select ONE of those leaders on top to grow out as a future trunk--the thickest one on the left at the top in the photo looks to be a decent candidate to me.

BC are extremely resilient trees. Big ones are sawed out of the swamp with little or no roots. They regenerate easily given the right conditions. All this work should be done in roughly mid-late March (you don't give a location, but I assume you're somewhere in the U.S.?) Soil should be on the organic side...regular houseplant potting soil plus 20 percent bonsai soil works to keep the roots moist without being too soggy.

I am in Jacksonville, FL and thank you for the plan of attack!
 

Mattlopez313

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If you're in Fla. you can probably do this in early Feb. Root pruning is best done on BC before their leaf buds open.

When should I cut the branches to leave a leader?
Should I cut all of the branches off as the all exist at the top and just leave one? Or should I 2-3 and the leader exist to help with regeneration? And After I cut these branches can I use these cuttings for another project?
 

rockm

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Chop all leaders except one when you repot--along with the root pruning.

Skip trying to get the others as cuttings. Not worth the time or the effort. Focus on the main tree...You'll probably get arguments to save those things, but they're not worth the trouble--long skinny rootless shoots don't make decent anything, at least for a decade...You're in Florida, for Heavens sake. There are literally MILLIONS of better BC around you...
 

Trenthany

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You have a mess of a problem that needs sorting out. That kind of root system is not uncommon in container grown BC. It's a problem because it is not only ugly-- the entire tangle is only going to get worse.

Whoever originally potted this up basically just yanked it out of a plastic growing pot, threw it in a ceramic pot and lopped it way too low.

All that said, there is a potential decent trunk in there that you can bring out over a few years with repeated root reductions. as for the extending top growth, if you allow it all to grow out, you will wind up with severe inverse taper--a big knot where all those shoots come off the trunk. BC are extremely apically dominant and all those shoots will take off strongly.

You could ignore all this and opt for the 'unnusual' "odd" approach, but IMO that rarely works out
Odd can be interesting to say the least. Maybe he can start a neagari trend in BC circles. @Cadillactaste would love this tree probably! I kind of like it myself. It does need a lot of cleanup though!

100% agree with your assessment based on everything I’ve learned here and seen in the real world though. Not trying to be contrary! I just like unusual specimens sometimes.
 

Trenthany

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Chop all leaders except one when you repot--along with the root pruning.

Skip trying to get the others as cuttings. Not worth the time or the effort. Focus on the main tree...You'll probably get arguments to save those things, but they're not worth the trouble--long skinny rootless shoots don't make decent anything, at least for a decade...You're in Florida, for Heavens sake. There are literally MILLIONS of better BC around you...
I definitely wouldn’t save them for a project but I would stick them in a pot to see if I get lucky because I love bald cypress and want to plant them everywhere! Lol. They’re gorgeous in the wild and in pots! Plant more baldies!

rock is right though they really aren’t worth saving and probably won’t root anyways.
 

Cadillactaste

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Odd can be interesting to say the least. Maybe he can start a neagari trend in BC circles. @Cadillactaste would love this tree probably! I kind of like it myself. It does need a lot of cleanup though!

100% agree with your assessment based on everything I’ve learned here and seen in the real world though. Not trying to be contrary! I just like unusual specimens sometimes.
Agreed...when the time is right for root work...I would clean it up a bit so it's not all you see when you look at the tree. But, I love unusual, quirky. Thanks for the tag.
 
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