En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - June 05, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Different shades of green in Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have two bald cypress trees 50 feet apart, but there was very different soil in the two holes. One was a clayey soil and the other was much more the Austin limestone soil. The trees are about 2 years old. They are the same height and have the same amount of foliage, but the cypress in the clay soil is deep green and the cypress in the limestone soil is yellow-green. What do I need to add to the soil to help the yellow-green cypress?

ANSWER:

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) is one of our favorite trees, graceful and interesting year-round. We think, however, you are worrying unnecessarily. The leaf color in various resources was listed as "green," "sage green" and "light green." Floridata has an excellent website on the Bald cypress, part of which we are going to quote to save ourselves some typing.

"Culture: Bald-cypress likes an acidic soil and will develop yellowing of the leaves if grown in neutral or calcareous soils. Young trees grow rapidly, but they can live 500 years or more.
Light: Young seedlings and saplings can tolerate light shade, but they will need full sun to reach their maximum potential.
Moisture: Although they occur naturally in the wettest of places, bald-cypress will thrive in normal, even dry soil. I long ago learned from an old forester that plants don't grow where they grow best; they grow where they can get away with it. Bald-cypress is just about the only tree that can survive long periods of flooding. But, it will grow faster, larger, and be healthier if not subjected to flooding at all. Bald-cypress doesn't often get the chance to grow in rich, well drained soils because other trees (that can't tolerate prolonged flooding) out-compete it. Established bald-cypress trees are surprisingly tolerant of drought.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-10"

That may be the new slogan for gardeners: "Plants don't grow where they grow best; they grow where they can get away with it." We think both of your trees have adjusted to the soils they found, and are getting away with it just fine.


Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for shade in Peoria, Arizona
February 25, 2009 - My six-foot block wall is on the west side of my yard. There are two large shade trees in front of the wall. What kind of shrubs can I plant near this wall that only gets sun for about 2 hours in th...
view the full question and answer

Good evergreen screen and some shade plants for Plano Texas
November 03, 2010 - We live in Plano Texas. We have 15' between our house and our neighbor. We want to plant a divider/screen of something evergreen, about 6-15' (6-8' is better) and narrow, about 2-3' wide between t...
view the full question and answer

Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
April 26, 2006 - I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would lik...
view the full question and answer

Vines for shade in North-Central Georgia
August 07, 2009 - I am looking for something to hide a 6' wood fence that will grow in almost full shade. I have an area approx 2 feet wide to plant in. Since the fence and planting areas are stepped -- about 8 feet f...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center