En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Pruning Bald Cypress in Wylie, TX

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

Saturday - January 02, 2010

From: Wylie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Pruning Bald Cypress in Wylie, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 6 year old bald cypress that sustained damage to the upper portion of its trunk a couple of years ago. Since that time it has grown more outward than upward and developed a rounder shape. It now appears that two branches, each equally dominant, have forked the main truck and are starting to grow upward again. Should I prune one of these branches to allow the other take over or just let them grow out? The tree appears otherwise very healthy.

ANSWER:

From our Native Plant Database on Taxodium distichum (bald cypress), we want to quote some information on the shape of this beautiful tree.

"This lofty, deciduous conifer grows 50-75 ft. or taller. It is slender and conical in youth, becoming flat-topped in very old age. Large, needle-leaf, aquatic, deciduous tree often with cone-shaped knees projecting from submerged roots, with trunks enlarged at base and spreading into ridges or buttresses, and with a crown of widely spreading branches, flattened at top."

We really love the conical shape of this tree when it is young, but it sounds as though it is not a particular issue as far as the tree is concerned, because it will develop widely spreading branches as it ages. This article from the USDA Forest Service Baldcypress specifically mentions that the tree broadens out as it grows, and it can even be pruned into a hedge. Just from your description, it would not appear that it is going to do any damage to the tree to let it grow the way it wants to. It might cause the tree to look unbalanced if one of the trunks were pruned away, and pruning is always an invitation to insects and disease in a tree. This appears to us an excellent example of "leave it alone, it's doing fine."

 

From the Image Gallery


Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Trees Questions

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
June 09, 2008 - How do I care for a Lemon Cypress tree? Does it require a lot of sun? How often should I water it? It is 18" high and I have it in a pot on my screen porch. Thank-you
view the full question and answer

Will Texas Mountain Laurel roots damage pipes in Tucson AZ?
May 20, 2010 - We have a Texas Laurel tree in our back yard,and it is doing fine, and we are are planning to put another one in the front yard close to the house will the root system attack our pipes ? no septic sys...
view the full question and answer

Controlling oak suckers in Austin
January 26, 2012 - I live in Austin TX and have one particular native Oak tree in my back yard with a large bed around it. I don't plan on planting anything else in the bed since it is already nicely landscaped along ...
view the full question and answer

Source for Desert Willow from Dallas
October 03, 2011 - I'm looking for a source for chilopsis linearis. I live in Dallas, TX. None of the specialty nurseries in Dallas seem to be able to source it. Is there any local source? Is there any source withi...
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping neglected garden in Franklin CT
April 03, 2011 - I am starting from scratch in a yard that has no planting beds or, for that matter, plants at all. House was vacant for quite some time, grass was three feet tall when we moved in. I would like to p...
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