In keeping with the weekend’s theme, I wanted to update you on one of the big trees I’m keeping, an awesome Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). The last time I blogged on this one was in July.



July is Bald cypress defoliation season.

If your tree is in good health with a solid root system, you can defoliate every July right at the beginning of the month.

There are a couple of reasons for this: one, you get in some extra training as defoliation allows you to put on some wire (possibly after removing any that’s biting in) and bend some of those branches that insist on being straight; and two, you get a fresh set of foliage that allows you to avoid the ratty looking late summer foliage typical of BC.

Here’s the tree back on July 3rd. The branches are coming along, and the apex I’m building is likewise getting closer to the size I need it. I’ve grown out and chopped back the leader a couple of times now. In another two or three years, I should have the crown completely developed.


And here we are today, just shy of three months later.

Doesn’t this foliage look great?

For those of you who have experience growing Bald cypress, you know what they look like in September if you just leave them to grow through summer. Not very pretty.



Notice how much stronger the growth is in the upper part of the tree.

I have many branches growing straight up. This is normal behavior for most species grown for bonsai. They’re usually all cut down to control their height, and they’re all programmed to get as tall as they can as fast as they can. So it’s only natural for them to send growth skyward.


This is all I’ll do for today, just tidying up the growth by removing the up-growth and trimming to shape. I’ve removed more from the upper part of the tree than from lower down, in order to keep the energy balanced.

There’s plenty of development left to do on this tree, but it’ll wait till next spring. In late winter I’ll do a thorough wiring and some aggressive shaping of the branches. Cypress branches all want to grow straight. That’s pretty boring, so I’ll have to correct it before they become so stiff I can no longer bend them.

Let me know what you think of my progress so far.