By Norman Winter, Horticulturist, Author, Speaker
A trip to Garner State Park in Texas gives the feeling of being in the rare presence of trees that surely have a story to tell. These are Bald Cypress, our Texas relatives to the Giant Sequoia. It’s really the same in San Antonio along River Walk.
The bald cypress is known botanically as Taxodium distichum, and is one of the most beautiful and yet unappreciated trees. Its native range extends much farther north than many realize. Unbelievably, the native habitat extends as for north as Delaware.
Considering the attributes, there is probably not a better all-purpose tree. The bald cypress thrives in soil that is known to be wet, which poses a hazard to almost every other quality tree. Yet on the other hand, it performs admirably on upland soils.
Many homeowners who lack patience are always in search of fast-growing trees. This is not one of the best criteria for selecting trees: longevity is. Many fast growing trees succumb to disease, insects or other environmental conditions in just a few short years.
The bald cypress, however, lives to be ancient and produces wood that is among the most durable on the planet. It is really a much faster grower than many realize. The trees normally will reach 50 to 70 feet in height and 20 to 45 feet in width. The buttressing of the trunk gives the tree a special appeal in the landscape.