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This stately conifer, native to the Midwest, is often found in groupings in parks and larger spaces, along streets, and around lakes. Unlike most cone-bearing trees, bald-cypress loses its needles each winter and grows a new set in spring. The russet-red fall color of its lacy needles is one of its outstanding characteristics. Hardy and tough, this tree will adapt to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, dry, or swampy.

  • Family (English) Cypress
  • Family (botanic) Cupressaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Restricted sites, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 50-70 feet
  • Mature width 20-30 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10, Zone 11
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Birds, Small mammals, Water birds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Bald-cypress is native to the Southern United States, especially wetlands and coastal areas.

Bark color and texture : 

The bark is fibrous with an attractive, reddish-brown color.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Soft, feathery needles turn russet-red in autumn before falling. This is one of the few conifers (cone-bearing trees) that loses its needles in winter and grows a new set in spring.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The plant has its male and female flowers in separate structures on the same tree. They are inconspicuous.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The small round cones stay on the branches into the winter.

Plant care: 

Bald-cypress is best grown in full sun in wet, dry, or swampy locations. Acidic soils are preferred as it may show chlorosis symptoms (yellowing) in high pH (alkaline) soil.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

The bald-cypress is susceptible to twig blight, spider mite, gall forming mite, and cypress moths.

Cascade Falls bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’):  

This is a weeping form that reaches 8 to 20 feet high.

Green Whisper® bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘JFS-SGPN’): 

This cultivar has very bright green foliage. The tree has a very soft, feathery look.

Peve Minaret bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Peve Minaret’): 

This is a dwarf cultivar, growing only 8 to 10 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.

Shawnee Brave® bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Mickelson’): 

This tree is narrowly pyramidal (50 feet high and 20 feet wide),  making it a good choice for urban spaces.


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