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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:

 

 

 

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