03 March 2012

Bald Cypress germination begins





Taxodium distichum


Bald Cypress
Feather Pine
Care

Bald Cypress is a "deciduous conifer"- it has cones and sheds its feather-like foliage in the Autumn. These seed were collected in November 2011, stored through the winter in a bucket of water then planted in a wet-muck seedbed in February 2012. 

Broken Bald Cypress cones expose the seed
 Feather-like foliage 



 Germination takes place on a wet-muck seedbed
Bald Cypress seed sprout



Taxodium distichum  seedlings


Seeds are produced annually and good seed production occurs about every 3 years.  Seeds are dispersed more frequently by flood waters.  Under swamp conditions, the best seed germination generally takes place on a sphagnum moss or a wet-muck seedbed.  On better drained soils, Bald Cypress seed usually fail to germinate due to lack of surface water.  Soil saturated for 1 to 3 months after seed-fall is required for germination. Seedlings require light for good growth, thus control of competing vegetation is necessary.



Old-growth bald cypress
 form a flattened crown.





Altamaha River

Bald Cypress tree is an excellent choice for someone who is just getting started with bonsai. Seeds and small trees are easily collected in this area, now is the time to find trees with cones and watch for them to turn brown so that the seed can be collected just before the cones open. The best digging time for cypress is from mid-­December to late February. Bald cypress bud back easily and will produce vigorous sprouts from the stumps. Taxodium distichum are frequently planted in groups in a single container, forming a Bonsai forest. Japanese term for growing a bonsai from seed is Misho.





Taxodium distichum cones












Ron Martin bonsai forest Workshop

























Green Bald Cypress cones




Bald Cypress 
bonsai prefer to
 live outdoors.








































Other deciduous conifers are: 



Taxodium distichum along the Altamaha River

Bald cypress and pond cypress are in the Taxodiaceae family. Bald cypress can be easily confused with pond cypress (Taxodium distichum var. nutans). Pond cypress has smaller, scale-like leaves pressed on the twigs. A twig of pressed pond cypress leaves resembles a pine needle pointing up or out from the stem. Bald cypress leaves are linear and feather-like  and the twigs hang down looking more pendulous than pond cypress twigs and leaves. Also, pond cypress tends to occur in still-water wetlands rather than flowing-water wetlands. Bald Cypress are not true cypress. True cypress are in the Cupressus family and are not native to the southeastern United States.




Bald cypress are found in  wetland habitats
Bald cypress is a wetland species that grows along rivers, streams, and creeks as well as in swamps with slow moving water.  It is a legendary tree of the Deep South known for its "knees," moss-draped crown, and buttressed trunk. Taxodium distichum  can live up to 600 years old Taxodium distichum is native to the coastal plains along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and north up through the Mississippi River Valley. The heartwood of old growth bald cypress is very resistant to rot.  This is not true with younger second growth trees. 



Bonsai in Autumn
Bald cypress with knees 



Cypress knees are woody projections sent above the normal water level function is unknown Lowland or swamp-grown cypresses found in flooded or flood-prone areas tend to be buttressed and "kneed," as opposed to cypresses grown on higher ground which may grow with very little taper.



Bald cypress
with roots submerged in water
and branches draped in
Spanish moss
Tillandsia usneoides


Pond Cypress
Taxodium distichum var. nutans

in still-water wetlands
SE Georgia

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