How to Establish a Bald Cypress Tree in a Swamp

A cypress tree.
  • 5-7 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-100
What You'll Need
Planting pot (medium size)
Fertilizer containing acid
Bald cypress seeds
Soil acidity testing kit

The bald cypress tree is naturally found growing along sources of water, such as streams, ponds, and swamps. Many homeowners enjoy the look of this type of tree, especially the beauty of the above-ground roots, planting it on the edge of a pond or other body of water.

The bald cypress is most populous along the Florida Everglades, although it can adapt to colder climates. In the spring the tree grows short, soft light green needles that turn darker in the summer and a copper brown in the fall. In the autumn the needles fall to the ground.

These trees can live up to 1,000 years and are resilient against pests and disease. They are often added to landscape designs for the unique beauty they add to an area. The wood itself is quite strong and has been used for hundreds of years to craft fine artifacts and pieces of furniture. It can be difficult to plant a bald cypress, but it is well worth the effort.

Step 1 - Test the Soil

Test your soil to find out if it is acidic enough, as bald cypress trees prefer acidic soil. Before planting the seeds, check that the soil has an acidity level of less than 7. If it does not, add some fertilizer and mix it with the soil. Keep retesting the soil until the pH level is at the recommended level, then add the soil to the planting pot.

Step 2 - Prepare to Plant

Water the soil, add the seeds, and make sure that the soil is moist and will drain properly. Place the seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep. When starting a bald cypress from a seed, it can take more than a year for the seedling to be ready for transplantation to the outdoors.

Step 3 - Transplant the Seedlings

Bald cypress trees do better when planted in the spring in full sun. Once you have selected a planting location, prepare the tree for planting. Dig the planting hole two to three times the width of the root and just as deep.

Place the tree in the planting hole, ensuring that the tree is level with the ground. Fill the planting hole with water and let the root and surrounding soil absorb the water. Back-fill with soil, and water again deeply.

Finally, spread a layer of mulch over the plant about 3 to 4 inches deep.

More Tips

Germination rates are not easy to establish for cypress seeds. Rates vary from 10% to 90%. Never let the soil dry out while you are waiting for the seeds to grow and don't allow the seedlings to freeze.