How to Plant and Care for a Cypress Tree

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Use a cypress tree to decorate a low-lying area. This type of tree is well known for growing in areas that are too wet for other trees, earning them the label as the unofficial tree of swamps and bogs. Follow the steps outlined below to plant your own cypress tree and help it grow healthy and strong.

Facts About Bald Cypress

Cypress trees are among the oldest types of true trees and they are related to the sequoia, the longest-living tree discovered to date. They have been documented to live for more than 5 centuries. Today, very few old-growth cypress forests remain, having been stripped almost completely during the first quarter of the 20th century. The bald cypress is unique as the only species of tree that grows "knees," or round-tipped root peaks that protrude from the soil around the tree.

Start with Seedlings

Because of the long germination time involved, it is a better idea to purchase young saplings. If you want to germinate your own, start them in a terrarium with large amounts of water. Before you start the seeds, keep in mind that it could take as much as a full year before a germinated cypress tree is ready for planting.

Prepare the Soil

Cypress tree care is pretty simple. They like rich dark soil and plenty of water. In the wild, cypress trees are commonly found growing in peat, so mixing a soil that is based on compost or other humus will make for a very happy cypress tree.

When to Plant

Plant your trees in the early spring, after the last hard frost. This gives them one entire growing season to acclimate to the location and soil before having to shut down for the winter months. Cypress can be planted any time during the spring, summer and fall months, but planting too late in the year handicaps the plant adaptation and could result in stunted growth come the following spring.

How to Plant

Prepare a hole that is 2 cubic feet in size, and fill it with the prepared soil. Dig out a smaller hole for the sapling to be placed in, slightly deeper than the surrounding soil. Place the tree in the hole, and fill in around it with prepared soil. Water excessively. If you have a way to provide a continuous drip, set it to run for the first 48 hours, effectively drenching the area around the cypress tree.

Other Planting Considerations

If you plant a cypress tree at the bottom of a depression, it will grow few, if any, knees. If you plant a cypress at the top of a depression, the tree will grow knees along the banks of the depression. If you plant the cypress on the edge of a sharp drop-off into a body of water, the tree will try to grow a wall of knees between itself and the water. Cypress trees do not live in water, but they must live in wet soil.