The Pond Cypress

I can’t seem to get over my infatuation with the native pond cypress, Cypress ascendens. A deciduous conifer displaying a remarkable pyramidal shape when young, this tree quickly grows into a magnificent specimen tree. Unlike the bald cypress, knees are just not a problem. Individual trees are especially majestic when planted, you guessed it: pond side.

This year I have seen my 15 year old juvenile tree assume a mature tree’s physique. The extra rains resulted in a bumper crop of female cones in the upper branches fertilized by the male flowers in the lower branches (the sexes are segregated). The sheer weight of the cones has pulled the upper limbs down, giving this tree a fuller figure as she grows out of her adolescence. In the next few weeks I will see the needles assume a tan color. Needles are short and make excellent mulch, but hardly deserve any time spent raking and relocating. By Christmas, she will be bare except for the thousands of round, 1-2” cones.

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

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