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Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Moody, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bald cypress with chlorosis in Texas
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I have a 6' tall Bald Cypress planted 2 years ago which just this year appears to be suffering from chlorosis. The tree was bought from a chain store. It receives some drainage water from my washing machine. Is it worth the effort to try to amend the soil etc. to help the existing Bald Cypress with its chlorosis or is it simply better in the long run to replace it with a more alkaline-tolerant tree? My soil is blackland clay with approx. 7.5 pH.


Bald cypress Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) is a majestic tree with soft, ferny foliage that enhances many landscapes. It prefers acidic soils (pH <6.8 ) and has no tolerance for calcium carbonate. The alkalinity of your soil is affecting the availability of iron to the plant which causes the chlorosis. If you are using chlorine bleach in your washing machine, the the wash water may be raising the pH. I would suggest directing it away from the tree, or stop using it altogether.

There are two approaches to your problem; one is to change the pH of the soil, and the other is to increase the availability of iron for the tree. The websites below explain the methodology and the pros and cons of each method.

Kansas State University Research and Extension

 Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service

Taxodium distichum










Should you decide to replace the Bald Cypress, the Texas Red Oak Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak)  is a beautiful tree that can tolerate your alkaline soil.





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