Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Questioning native status of Alberta Spruce in New Jersey
November 11, 2005 - I am in the process of transforming my yard to native plants. Several years ago I planted a Dwarf Alberta Spruce. I want to be sure this isn't native before I remove it but haven't been able to fi...
view the full question and answer

Sudden death of one side of Mountain Laurel from Canyon Lake TX
July 22, 2013 - Hello! We live in Canyon Lake TX and have a Mountain Laurel that is in distress. It is planted in an irrigated flower bed and has been happily growing for 5 years. It is about 5' tall and has sever...
view the full question and answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Using cedar chips as mulch in Wimberley, TX
August 19, 2010 - In TX Hlll Country there is an abundance of wood chips, usually "cedar", which I have used as plant mulch. Since wood chips extract nitrogen to decay, do you consider chips a poor choice as plant m...
view the full question and answer

Differentiating between Iles decidua and Ilex vomitoria
February 15, 2007 - Is there any way to tell a male possum haw holly from a female? I have a possum haw that never lost all of it's leaves and has no berries. Could it be a male?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.