I first noticed it last weekend. Bald cypress is one of the first species to start pushing buds in spring or, technically, late winter – all it takes is some unseasonably warm weather. Well, that’s just what we’ve been getting, with temperatures reaching 75-80.

This BC, which I collected in Winter 2015, is happily budding now. Well, that creates its own problem since this specimen needs to be adjusted in its pot. When I first went to this training pot, I turned the tree just slightly thinking it would look better. Turns out it didn’t, because it diminished the appearance of the spreading root base. It’s clear with the pot turned just a bit. So any root work that needs doing has to be done now, since the tree has decided it’s go time. Go time for me, too.

Go time also means it’s time to make necessary adjustments to ensure the tree is developing properly. Of particular importance is the new apex of the tree. I have grown the apex from a trunk bud, beginning in 2015. The technique is fairly simple, you grow a leader by letting it run most or all of the growing season, then you cut it back drastically and repeat the process to ensure you get the taper you need in the apex itself. I’ve done this a few times now with this tree, and slowly but surely I’m getting there.

But there’s a problem. Notice how below the transition point there appears to be a “shoulder” where the original trunk chop becomes the new leader. This doesn’t look right, and I need to correct it this season.

Here’s another view. The problem is on both sides, which is due to the healing that has taken place since the year two chop was made. The rolling over process has gone very well, but an unwanted side effect is this abrupt-looking change of trunk thickness.

The solution? Carve it down. This immediately makes it look smoother and more believable. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. But it does position the development such that as the base of the transition point thickens further, the taper from original trunk chop into the new leader will look very natural.

This is what it looks like after both sides have been carved. Again, far from perfect but going in the right direction.

What about when the new cuts heal? Because they are “secondary” wounds, meaning I have wounded the scars of the original wounds, the rolling over will not be as aggressive as with the first one. So I should not have to repeat this technique again.

And now, on to the repositioning. This tree was initially potted in 2017, so it hasn’t yet filled the pot with roots. This is good: I won’t have to remove much root to accomplish today’s goal.

And the final result for today. Now the tree has its best foot forward. The root spread and fluting on this specimen is just terrific.

But guess what? There’s more.

This is a photo of the tree taken in February of 2015, almost exactly four years ago. Compare the root flare at soil level with the photo above. Isn’t it just spectacular? And even here the roots are buried to protect them. So when the tree gets its permanent home, I’ll lift it to reveal the whole basal flare.

Let me know what you think of this Bald cypress. I think it’s coming along really well.