You’ve seen this cypress before. I collected it about a year ago, about 120 miles south of where I am. At the time of collection, it and the other surrounding cypresses had already leafed out in their fresh pre-spring foliage. It got chopped back, along with the others, and took the better part of eight weeks to come back out. Then it grew like crazy in this Byron Myrick pot, allowing me to get a big head-start on its training (which will go quickly, regardless). You can see a classic flat-top in the making.
This winter has been more or less normal. We’ve had probably 15 freezing nights, nothing super cold but cold enough to qualify as a Southern winter. Aside from a couple of privets and of course the crabapple seedlings I have, nothing is anywhere close to budding out … except for the bald cypresses I collected 120 miles south of here in February of 2014. This tree is one of them. I have some others remaining from that area, and all but two are showing tons of buds on the verge of breaking. Yet at the same time, the cypresses I have that have been grown from seed here or collected closer to home are showing zero signs of budding. So that prompts the question: Do trees remember? What is it about these trees that makes them want to bud out weeks before others of the same species? I don’t have an answer. If there’s anyone out there who’s a botanist or is otherwise knowledgeable about this phenomenon, I’d love to hear from you.
Of course there’s a limit to how far north this “budding memory” would present itself, but I think it’s a really fascinating thing to observe. I do have to be mindful of whatever remaining cold weather we have – we’re getting the standard Valentine’s Day freeze – but barring really frigid weather these trees will have a nice head start on their more Northerly brothers.
I expect to be offering this tree for sale sometime around June. Its development will be much farther along at that time. You can see the nice surface rootage and taper, and I think the lichens on the trunk give this tree superb character. I’d say it’ll be showable in about two years.