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Bald cypress bonsai

The bald cypress tree is mainly used for timber in its native land, the Southern part of North America. Now it became popular with bonsai hobbyists. Its flat needles are particularly attractive as bonsai. 

Bald cypress bonsai trees are easy to carry and grow in comparison to other cypress species.  However, they still demand some specific conditions and here we will guide about this in detail below.

Bald Cypress Bonsai Quick Facts

FactDescription
Scientific nameTaxodium distichum
FamilyCupressaceae
Plant GroupConifers
Native toSouthern United States
HeightUp to 120 feet
Lifespan600-1200 years
LeavesFlat, green needles, small, ⅓-¾ inches long.
FlowersGreenish tassel-like flowers at the end of every branch.
FruitsHardy, round, green cones that smell like cedar. 
Cultivation Popular as a bonsai tree. 
SymbolismEternal or everlasting life that comes after death.
UsesWild bald cypress is used for lumber and cypress bonsai for its ornamental values. 

Bald Cypress Bonsai Care Guide

Understanding bald cypress bonsai’s caring is as vital as its styling and pruning. Indecent care often leads to its dying even before you get its pruning and styling phase. 

From placement, temperature, soil, and watering here’s everything you should know to provide proper care to bald bonsai trees. 

Bald Cypress Bonsai Watering

Watering bonsai, particularly cypress species, never should be neglected. If the tree receives full sunlight for hours, water must be provided once a day. But that will also rely on the size of the pot and type of the soil and the species of cypress you own. After being familiar with the particular species’s requirements you can accommodate your watering schedule. 

For bald cypress bonsai, ensure the roots never dry out and the soil never should be left dry. During growing seasons, meaning in summer and spring, they require water every single day. If you are a beginner you can opt for mica pots, they can keep the moisture in the soil for up to three days. 

Watering should be accomplished with a watering can or a hose, but it should be applied in a soft manner in order to not bother the soil. Water till it’s running out from the bottom holes of the pot. 

Learn more about Watering a bonsai tree.

Bald Cypress Bonsai Temperature Tolerance

The bald cypress bonsai requires a constant climate, especially hot summers, which is perfect for their healthy growth. In cooler regions, it still can have healthy growth but much slower. As it is a deciduous trees, they are the healthiest outdoors, so it’s adequate to use them as outdoor bonsai and keep them outside throughout the year. 

The temperature range for bald bonsai varies from twenty-five to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. If your location can reach a temperature above 90 degrees, you better provide some shades to avoid needle burns. Regardless, it can handle high temperatures if the humidity is high as well. 

Right Placement for Bald Cypress Bonsai

Particularly, bald cypress is not picky about their placement. But it’s still important, to ensure it’s getting enough sun and getting protected from harmful elements. 

Bald cypress desire heat over cold, so placing them where they can receive a few hours of full sun daily is ideal. This is particularly important during the times when they are growing. 

If the temperature drops drastically in winter, it should be brought indoors or in a cold-frame greenhouse. If you are planning to keep them indoors, select a place where it has sunlight reach of at least six hours. If that’s not possible as well, invest in grow lights. 

Repotting Bald Cypress Bonsai

Bald cypress bonsai needs to be re-potted when the roots need more space in their current pot.

Repotting operates with two main goals: providing refreshed soil and boosting a more consolidated root system.

Evergreen trees require re-potting every 4-5 years, while deciduous require it every 2-3 years. But, depending on the care it is provided, the root growth can vary. So, check the roots every year for root-bound conditions. 

Re-potting is effortless and can be achieved in a few simple steps;

  • Start with removing the plant gently from the pot. Soak the soil for thirty minutes or use a root hook to loosen the soil. 
  • Remove roughly one-fourth of the outward and bottom part of the root mass by gently raking out the soil and pruning the roots. It’s suggested not to remove more than one-fourth of the root mass.
  • After that, you can put the plant in the same pot or in a new pot.
  • Assure the pot has a mesh placed over the drainage holes, and put a thin layer of small pebbles at the bottom for drainage.
  • Over the gravel, add fresh soil high enough that rises the tree to its previous height in the pot. 
  • Once repotting is complete, thoroughly water your bonsai, which can also be done by dunking the entire pot in a tub of water. 

Best Soil for Bald Cypress Bonsai

When choosing soil for your Bald Cypress bonsai, it’s important to understand its natural habitat. By replicating and providing similar soil, ideal soil conditions can be delivered. This tree is often known as the swamp cypress, clearly for its preference for moist habitats. To imitate its natural conditions, you can opt for mushroom compost or a substrate that has good water retention without extreme drainage.

Also, you can create a landscape design by using a wide tray. Consider leaving one side or the entire frame free to function as a water feature, including a soil bank that resembles a river surrounding the tree. Through this arrangement, the cypress bonsai will have access to water whenever it requires it.

How to Guides for Bald Cypress Bonsai

In this section, we will take a closer look at how you can maintain bald cypress bonsai through pruning, wiring, fertilizing, and propagating. 

How to Prune Bald Cypress Bonsai

Pruning is the most viable way to limit the growth of the tree. You can prune bald cypress at any desired length, but little should be left to maintain the health of the tree. 

Bald can be pruned two times a year, once in June and another in early December. You can trim the elongated nodes along with the woody structure, in that case, the tree will sprout from the cuts. 

Remove half of the needle mass for a better look. 

Learn more about Pruning

How to Wire a Bald Cypress Bonsai

To shape and train the branches of the Bald Cypress bonsai tree, wiring is needed. This process involves using flexible bonsai wire to gently curve the limbs into the preferred form. It’s important to move with caution and avoid applying extreme pressure that could harm and break the branches.

  • Bald bonsai can be wired throughout the growing seasons. 
  • With a scissor snip the excess branches and needles, so it would be easier to see which parts you will be binding. 
  • First pierce the wire near the tree base, in the soil, and start wrapping the trunk, then the single branches that you want to shape.
  • Once the wrapping is done, it’s time to bend. 
  • It will take the tree around a couple of months to grow in the wire’s direction. After that, you can take the wires out. 

Tips:

Ensure the wire is tight enough to not drop. 

If the branches are thinner than the wire, don’t bind it.

Be vigilant about the branch’s growth to avoid cuts from the wire. 

Learn more about How to Wire a Bonsai Tree Branch

How to Fertilize Bald Cypress Bonsai

From March to September bald cypress bonsai needed to be fed in every two weeks. Fertilize the plant just after watering so the fertilizer will wash down into the moist soil easily. Put the soil around the base evenly and avoid getting it into the leaves. A regular 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer can be used, but you need to be aware of the dosage in the instruction. Liquid fertilizer is better but during the budding period, solid organic fertilizer can be applied as well. If your desire is branch-like shoots, start applying fertilizer once leaf production begins. 

Check this detailed guide on How to Fertilize your Bonsai Trees the Correct Way

How to Grow a Bald Cypress Bonsai

Whether you are growing bald cypress from seeds or cuttings, the key to success lies in patience. It can take weeks to months to see a single sprout, but the joy of growing a store-brought plant and growing from scratch is unparallel. 

How to Grow Bald Cypress Bonsai from Seed

The fruit of the bald cypress is a round cone. During autumn you can gather the fruits from a grown tree before they open up. Let the fruits dry before breaking them apart. You can preserve those dry seeds in a sealed container at room temperature for as long as you want for later cultivation. Another easiest way is to get dry cones or dry seeds from the store. 

  • Take a disposable container and fill them up with soil mix (half perlite and half peat moss and slow-release fertilizer). Pack the soil reasonably but not too hard. 
  • Set the seed into the container, but not too deep. Seeds need light and air for germination. Just keep them at a length where they are well connected with the soil, air, and light. 
  • Water the seed very gently and get them to soak all the way through to keep them moist. Water them every day and if it’s drying quickly you can water them twice. But keep the soil moist, not muddy. 
  • Within a month or so if it gets a steady temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it will start to germinate. 
  • After germination, you can transplant the healthy seedlings into their new pot. Keep the same soil mix in order to not shock them. 

Check this detailed guide on How to grow a bonsai tree from seed?

How to Grow Bald Cypress Bonsai from Cuttings

  • Snip a portion of a branch from the mother plant with bonsai shears. Better if it has leaves attached to it.
  • To stimulate rooting, wound the cuttings by using a razor or a sharp knife.
  • Trim the bottom part to ensure no needles touching the potting medium.
  • Fill a pot with a 1:1 sand and peat mixture, place the cuttings, and firmly pack the mixture around to secure it in a vertical position.
  • Water the soil till it settles down around the cuttings.
  • Wait for the roots to be established for a few weeks and transplant the new tree in a new pot. 

Common Bald Cypress Bonsai Problems and Solutions / Diseases & Pests

Bald cypresses are one of the hardiest plants and are resilient against most diseases and pests. As they love swampy soil and conditions, they don’t usually suffer from root rot and many fungi that are caused by overwatering. But they still face a couple of unique sets of issues. As bonsais are trees but in miniature form, the treatment of those issues would be the same as any other trees.

Here are the common issues that your bald cypress bonsai might face;

Chlorosis

To identify the symptoms you need to monitor the tree on a regular basis. The primary symptom of chlorosis is premature yellowing leaves, especially during drought seasons. Chlorosis is caused by the iron shortage. Alkaline soil trees commonly face the issue, because the soil retains the iron and makes it hard for the roots to absorb it. Underwatering can also be the cause of iron absorption difficulty. 

Solution:

Add peat moss or coffee ground near the root to increase the acidity level of the soil. 

Beetles

Very common intruders of outdoor bald cypress, but they might not attack the small bonsais. The beetles have yellow heads and dark markings all over their body. They are not fetal but can cause severe harm if they attack in packs. They leave near the crown and feed the sap through their mouthpieces. 

Solution:

Spray them with insecticides that are labeled for beetles. 

Root aphids and root mealybugs

These pests feed on the sugary waste created by the tree, which is rich in sugars and starches. This surplus of nutrients in the roots creates a favorable surrounding for the pests to breed.

Solution: 

The best method is to re-pot the tree and get rid of as many pests as you can. You can also treat the root system with predatory nematodes.  Nematodes help eliminate insects and improve the health of the roots.

Bald Cypress Bonsai Images

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