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
1 rating

Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Moody, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bald cypress with chlorosis in Texas
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a 6' tall Bald Cypress planted 2 years ago which just this year appears to be suffering from chlorosis. The tree was bought from a chain store. It receives some drainage water from my washing machine. Is it worth the effort to try to amend the soil etc. to help the existing Bald Cypress with its chlorosis or is it simply better in the long run to replace it with a more alkaline-tolerant tree? My soil is blackland clay with approx. 7.5 pH.

ANSWER:

Bald cypress Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) is a majestic tree with soft, ferny foliage that enhances many landscapes. It prefers acidic soils (pH <6.8 ) and has no tolerance for calcium carbonate. The alkalinity of your soil is affecting the availability of iron to the plant which causes the chlorosis. If you are using chlorine bleach in your washing machine, the the wash water may be raising the pH. I would suggest directing it away from the tree, or stop using it altogether.

There are two approaches to your problem; one is to change the pH of the soil, and the other is to increase the availability of iron for the tree. The websites below explain the methodology and the pros and cons of each method.

Kansas State University Research and Extension

 Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service

Taxodium distichum

 

 




 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Should you decide to replace the Bald Cypress, the Texas Red Oak Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak)  is a beautiful tree that can tolerate your alkaline soil.

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Failure to thrive of Magnolia grandiflora in Las Vegas NV
January 17, 2011 - I live in Las Vegas, NV and have several Magnolia Grandiflora trees. They were doing well until 2 years ago when they started losing their leaves. The leaves turn brown or very dark on the edges. One ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Small Tree for Texas Garden
November 06, 2014 - I would like to plant a small tree just 3-4 feet from my house, but I don't want to damage the foundation. Is there a small fruit or nut tree I could plant that would fit the bill? Failing that, is t...
view the full question and answer

Can Crataegus viridian be grown in Houston, TX?
June 21, 2015 - I am looking to plant Crataegus viridis (species or cultivar "Winter King") at a location in full sun in Houston. Many places I've found online say that it is hearty through Zone 9, but others have...
view the full question and answer

Native specimen tree for Houston, Texas
September 23, 2009 - Looking for recommendations for a specimen tree to flank our front steps. Evergreen, 15 feet tall, maybe 10 feet wide. Will be near icee blue Japanese yews and nearly wild rose bushes. Ideas?
view the full question and answer

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