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
2 ratings

Saturday - September 19, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Is bald cypress native to Dallas area?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There are 2 very large bald cypress trees growing beside one another at a park in North Dallas, and I was wondering if they were native or planted a long time ago by the settlers or something. They are each 6-8 feet in diameter at chest high and about 70 feet tall, very similar to the ones along Lady Bird Lake or the Guadalupe River. They are growing about 10 feet above the normal water level of Old Joe's Creek at the crest of the bank. I've never seen any in North Central Texas anywhere close to this size. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) is certainly native to Texas, and East Texas. Its native habitat is swamps; stream banks, streams and riparian areas in moist soils. It likes soils of sand, loam, clay, limestone; poor drainage is fine.

Bald cypress can grow to 138 feet and taller, and have a trunk diameter at chest height of 10 ft. or more. It is a moderately fast-growing tree reaching 40 to 50 feet in about 15 to 25 years. A very rough estimate, based on those figures, is that your tree is in the neighborhood of 35 years old. I think that probably lets out early settlers. 

You did not say what park you were visiting, but we understand that there are bald cypresses growing in Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas.  In a park area, trees may have been planted or the park may have been planned to take advantage of native trees already in place. Without knowing more about the history of the area involved, we couldn't guess how those trees came to be there. Propagation is by seed, and birds are the greatest gardeners around, eating seeds, processing them through their digestive systems and giving them back to the environment, with a little fertilizer added at no charge.

From the Native Plant Image Gallery:


Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Small, attractive tree to replace redbud
September 23, 2008 - Hi. We have a dying redbud (approx 9 yrs old) in our west facing front yard. It gets lots of sun, and plenty of water from our irrigation system. We think the issue is a vertical split in the trunk, ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for traffic buffer in Portland OR
September 20, 2010 - Hi, saw the question about small space plants. On this topic, our street in Portland OR is looking for a fast growing, 20-30 ft tree that can go in a 12" wide parking strip along our road (we have ma...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under pine in Ft. Worth
July 15, 2009 - My front yard, in Fort Worth, faces north. There is a large shade-giving pine tree in the middle. I am looking at options for what spreading groundcover varieties to plant underneath this rather large...
view the full question and answer

Trimming non-native sago from Fresno CA
September 10, 2012 - I have a sago plant, fronds are hanging over into street, can the fronds themselves be trimmed back without removing the whole frond?
view the full question and answer

Protecting the Texas madrone from construction damage
January 11, 2010 - What is the best way to protect Texas Madrone trees (small, 8'-10') from damage during construction of a new home on a site with some single, some grouped Madrones?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center