Bald Cypress I

The oldest Bald Cypress in my collection, it was started from seed sometime around 2001 or 2002.  My dad gave it to me around 2006,  I did not know much about bonsai at that time and all I did was keep it alive and maintain it.  It has spent its entire life submerged in a either a pot with no holes or in a tub of water during the warmer months.

A Few Words About Bald Cypress

     Bald Cypress, taxodium distichum, is a deciduous conifer in the family Cupressacae that grows on saturated and seasonally inundated soils in the lowlands of the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains of the United States. A long-lived, pyramidal conifer (cone-bearing tree) which grows 50-70' tall (less frequently to 125'). Although it looks like a needled evergreen in summer, it is deciduous ("bald" as the common name suggests). It is native to southern swamps, bayous and rivers, primarily being found in coastal areas from Maryland to Texas and in the lower Mississippi River valley to as far north as the southeast corner of Missouri. In the deep South, it is a familiar sight growing directly in swampy water, often in large strands, with its branches heavily draped with Spanish moss. In cultivation, however, it grows very well in drier, upland soils. Trunks are buttressed (flared or fluted) at the base and often develop distinctive, knobby root growths ("knees") which protrude above the water surface or soil around the tree. Soft, feathery, yellowish-green foliage (1/4" long, flat needles in two ranks) turns an attractive orange/cinnamon-brown in fall. Rounded, wrinkled, 1 inch diameter, purplish-green cones mature to brown.
     I think that Bald Cypress are one of the best trees for a bonsai beginner tree.  They are very vigorous trees when it comes to growth, hard to over or under-water, develop roots quickly (will fill a pot in one season), and recover from a beginner's learning curve easily.  They are also quick to develop raification and are one of the few trees that can be developed into a decent sized bonsai in a short amount of time.
Another desirable characteristic is that they develop buds easily on old wood,  if you don't have a branch where you want one, just wait a week or so and it will throw a few buds out.
 

In The Beginning...

The earliest pictures that I have are these two, the one on the left is from 2004 and on the right is one from 2006.  They are exactly two years apart, both taken in April. Notice the increase in the size of the trunk and the tree overall in just two years. Submersion is the reason.  If you want to know more, check out the article I wrote on submersion here.

Growing Your Own

Bald Cypress are easy to grow from seed.  Collect the cones from mature trees in mid/ late summer when they mature.  Allow them to dry for a week or more and crack them open lto collect the triangular shaped seeds.  Sow the seeds in your favorite medium, I just use potting soil, and keep them moist.  The following Spring you should have your own forest sprouting.
After I took possession of the tree, I just maintained it, I don’t have many pictures, I was not that good about tasking pictures to document progess.  I had a lot of irons in the fire, and did not have much experience with bonsai.  In 2012, I came up with a plan for it. I chopped it. Here it is in the Spring of 2013.
It exploded with  growth everywhere, the new leader grew 6 - 8 feet. Here it is at the end of summer and in December, after leaf drop.  Bald cypress are very fast growers.
In early Spring if 2014, I carved the initial chop to help the transition and shortened the new leader, which I later carved in May after it put on some new growth.

More Coming, Check Back Soon...

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