June 11, 2013
Taxodium distichum

DescriptionThis deciduous conifer provides a mellow russet fall colour. The lovely texture, interesting bark, urban tolerance and very few pests make this a tree to consider for a spot where the slender pyramidal shape can be enjoyed.
UsageParking lot islands, buffer strips, highway, reclamation, specimen, hedge, street tree.
OriginSoutheastern USA
Hardiness zone4,5
Form/textureSlender, pyramidal habit.
Soft texture and interesting bark in winter.
Appears very similar to dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) but differs by its alternate bud and leaf arrangement.
Growth rateRapid, long lived.
LeafDeciduous conifer providing late bright spring colour, summer sage tones and a mellow russet fall colour.
Small needles blow away in autumn breezes.
FlowerMonoecious, inconspicuous.
FruitSmall cones develop within the season, used by wildlife.
Exposure/cultureFull sun.
The ability to survive in low oxygen swamps translates to a strong tolerance for the low oxygen levels of compacted soils in cities.
Tolerates slightly alkaline (<7.5) to acidic soils, though chlorosis occurs with high pH.
Tolerates very wet to prolonged dry soils.
Very urban tolerant, few pests.
Some cultivars may be more resistant to the few insect problems.
Very hardy in Guelph and Minnesota, hardiness elsewhere unknown.
CommentsThere are beautiful examples of this species as a street tree in the USA. The Society for Municipal Arborists named it as their Urban Tree of the Year for 2007.

Wide lower limbs may limit use with some street applications.

Although few examples exist in Ontario, baldcypress should be explored and planted further. Increased demand will help to overcome the challenges with propagation and obtaining propagative material.