Today was a bald cypress collecting day. The weather was perfect, ice on the windshield when I left but warming to near 60 degrees by the time the field work was done. There’s nothing like collecting trees and not working up a sweat (or getting soaked or freezing).
Here are a few of the new pieces with the root washing mostly done, awaiting final trimming and potting. To give you an idea of scale, the center tree has a 3″ trunk above the root crown and is 22″ to the chop. It had good enough fibrous roots that I direct-potted it into a nice Byron Myrick oval. I’ll try to post a photo of it tomorrow.
I got some very nice material today, and hopefully all of it will survive. My success rate has been about 80% in the past few years, so that bodes well. I should know in about eight weeks.
Look for new cypress specimens for sale by late April.
Update 2/1: here’s the middle tree potted up. I love the graceful movement of the trunk. My plan for this one is a so-called “young tree” style, with the traditional first branch-second branch-back branch design. For those of you who have worked with bald cypress before, you know that the species produces trunk buds more prolifically than most. This usually gives us free reign when it comes to selecting new branches. By May I should be wiring new shoots. I’ll post an update this summer.
The final shot is from the back of the tree, so you can see all of the flaring roots and buttressing. This one is awesome, more so because the trunk diameter is only 3″ above the root crown. Usually it takes a good while, and more heft, for a bald cypress to develop a good buttress. My landscape specimens I grew from seed started 15 years ago are just now doing this, and they have 8″ trunks.
Growing conditions seem to govern this part of the development of a bald cypress. I always collect specimens growing in shallow water, and this along with crowding of other trees apparently produces more compact growth and the tendency to put on flaring roots. These flaring roots, as they grow in size, create the buttressing we prize so much.
If you’ve never grown bald cypress, it’s definitely a species you’ll want to add to your collection. They’re easy to grow and train, as long as you know how to develop the crown. I’ll be posting some information on that in the coming weeks.