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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 03, 2009

From: Lakeland, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Dirt around bald cypress in Lakeland FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dirt around trunk of cypress.. Our tree is a Bald Cypress. We dug a hole to install a jacuzzi and put the dirt/clay around the trunk of the cypress to level the area out. I also laid several flag stones around it to make it a patio area. I have now removed all the stones and all the dirt. Is there anything else I can do? Help.

ANSWER:

That fact that your tree is a bald cypress makes it possible that the tree will survive. Because the bald cypress often grows in swamp areas with water over portions of the tree, it is less susceptible to suffocation. Beyond that, we have no idea. The tree is deciduous, the only cypress that is (thus, the word "bald" in its common name) so it should now go into a semi-dormant stage and hopefully begin to recover. We're just gardeners and volunteers, not plant pathologists, and this was the first time we had been asked a question about putting 3 feet of the trunk of a tree under soil. The message here is that plants should be allowed to grow where they are native, and in conditions that are normal for them. They have evolved over millions of years to that environment and those conditions, and cannot change overnight to adjust to changed conditions. But plants also are programmed to survive, so hopefully your bald cypress will recover and go on for many more years.

 

More Trees Questions

Need advice for pruning a young Bur Oak tree in Austin, TX.
November 02, 2010 - I grew a beautiful bur oak from seed, and three years later it is now taller than I am. I hate to cut anything off this tree and hurt it, but there are two branches that are rubbing together and growi...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for revegetation project
October 05, 2007 - We live in a MUD just outside of Round Rock Texas. There is a developer building apartments behind about 20 houses. Last year, we got the developer to agree to leave 20' of native vegetation in the e...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Reason for tree canopy dieback from Mahopac NY
May 21, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Not a questions, just sharing, re person in Texas whose Ash Jupiter appeared to be dying "canopy very thin on top". We moved to Putnam Co. NY in 1970. Our house was shaded by...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

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