En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Positioning a bald cypress among cattails in Silver Spring MD

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 30, 2009

From: Silver Spring, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Positioning a bald cypress among cattails in Silver Spring MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a rain garden, half of which is fairly overrun with broad- and narrow-leaf cattails. We've learned to be aggressive in thinning these out 2 to 3 times during the growing season. We also have a potted 4 foot Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) ready to drop into the ground. If we put the cypress in the wettest (and sunniest) part of the rain garden, it would be right in the middle of those cattails. Is it likely that the cattails would choke the cypress out, or could the cypress hold its own given that the cypress roots deeper into the ground than the cattails?

ANSWER:

If we had to make a choice between the two, it would be Taxodium distichum (bald cypress), hands down. It is a great tree, interesting year-round, even when it drops its needles, adaptable to wet or semi-dry conditions. The bald cypress can take sun or part shade, with the "knees" appearing in areas of poor drainage, which is okay with the tree. Typha domingensis (southern cattail) and Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail) are both native to Maryland. As you obviously already know, cattails can be very invasive and take over a wetland. So, why put them into direct competition? We would certainly recommend that you continue to control the cattails, and try to keep them from spreading any more. But the bald cypress does not have to go in the same place. It can do well in part shade, that is, 2 to 6 hours of sun a day, and does not have to have its feet in the water. Give it all the sun you can, and make sure it is well watered, especially the first year it is in the ground. Beyond that, we think it can hold its own very well. But watch those cattails!


Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Typha domingensis

Typha latifolia

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tree transplants having problems in Manchaca TX
April 03, 2010 - I have recently transplanted a Mexican Buckeye, Chinquapin oak, and Sandpaper tree that I have been raising inside since they were seedlings. They have now developed a browning of the tips of their l...
view the full question and answer

Small to medium specimen native tree for Texas Hill Country
August 20, 2004 - Can you recommend a small to med. 'specimen' tree to plant near our patio? Full sun, drought tolerant, interesting during different seasons. Thought about Blanco Crabapple, Rusty Blackhaw, Smoke Tr...
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress trees for yard in Mackinaw IL
September 14, 2010 - We are looking at planting a few bald cypress trees in our front yard. I have heard of the extensive root system that these trees have and wonder how far away from a septic system and the house found...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on women trying to conceive
July 10, 2005 - RE: Eucalyptus. Is this bad for women trying to conceive? The smell is very powerful.
view the full question and answer

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
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