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
1 rating

Wednesday - February 24, 2010

From: Llano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: What is the pH of Bald Cypress needles?
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

What is the pH of Bald Cypress needles?

ANSWER:

Sorry, but, after an extensive search, Mr. Smarty Plants couldn't find a precise answer to your question.  We can tell you that, according to the USDA Plants Database, the pH requirements for its growth are 4.0 minimum and 6.5 maximum and we can point you to the US Forest Service account with a wealth of information about bald cypress.

We do wonder why you asked the question.  Are you considering using Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) needles as mulch for your garden and hoping to lower the pH of your soil to help particular plants? If that's the case then there isn't an easy answer to the exact results.  The overall effect of bald cypress needles on basic soils should be acidifying, but there are many factors that will affect how much the pH could be changed—the amount of needles and how they're used, original soil pH, soil mineral fractions, water quality and its pH, amount of rainfall, soil biota, etc.

There is some experimental evidence about the effect of cypress mulch on soil acidity.  Cypress mulch is the shredded whole tree (including the needles).  A study in Florida by Stephen H. Brown of the Lee County Cooperative Extension Service ("Response of Hibiscus to Organic Mulches", Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 109:30-33. 1996) compared the effects of five organic mulches—needles of Pinus elliottii (slash pine), municipal solid waste (MSW) composed of refuse from professional landscapers and homeowner lawn organic waste, and shredded mulch from three trees—Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) and two trees that are native to Australia, Melaleuca quinquenervia (Melaleuca) and Eucalyptus sp. (no particular species named) on the growth of Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinenesis).  Interestingly, they found that all applications decreased the pH of the soil (made it more acidic—going from a range of 7.37-7.63 to a range of 6.47-6.8), but the amounts of the decrease were not significantly different for the 5 treatments or the control with no mulch added.  The cypress mulch lowered the pH of the soil from 7.37 to 6.47 in one year.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Problem with crapemyrtle shoots in Victoria, TX
May 13, 2009 - I have a problem with crepe myrtle shoots coming up in my flowerbed. I had to remove a large crepe myrtle tree (18" diameter stump) and digging out the stump was not possible. I killed the stump wi...
view the full question and answer

Willows native to Wisconsin
July 01, 2005 - I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
view the full question and answer

Positioning a bald cypress among cattails in Silver Spring MD
April 30, 2009 - We have a rain garden, half of which is fairly overrun with broad- and narrow-leaf cattails. We've learned to be aggressive in thinning these out 2 to 3 times during the growing season. We also have ...
view the full question and answer

Alleotrophic effects of caffeine found in Ilex species
January 24, 2007 - I'm doing research for my biology class on the alleotrophic effects of caffeine. I'm planning to use Ilex vomitoria as the caffeine-producing plant. As the control I want to use another non-c...
view the full question and answer

Digging sassafras roots in Oklahoma
March 11, 2009 - When should I dig sassafras roots in eastern Oklahoma?
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