Baldcypress, a deciduous conifer (like the Larches), is native to wet areas of the lower and middle Mississippi Valley drainage basin, the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal states, and especially Florida. Its northernmost native range is the extreme southern tips of Indiana and Illinois, but this tree is extensively planted in dry areas throughout the Eastern United States as an ornamental tree, including Ohio. Its pyramidal to spire-like growth is formal in youth, becoming more columnar and open with great age. This is the tree from which cypress mulch is made, and the source trees (especially in Florida) are being rapidly depleted.
As a deciduous conifer, the leaves of Bald Cypress drop off in autumn, and its cones are round balls that release their seeds in autumn and winter. Trees in Ohio may reach 80 feet tall by 30 feet wide when found in the open. As a member of the Baldcypress Family, it is also related to Dawn Redwood and Giant Redwood. The outline of young Baldcypress ranges from strongly pyramidal to upright oval, and in winter one can see the multitude of horizontal branches that make up the canopy. Older trees retain the broad columnar outline.
Planting Requirements - Baldcypress actually prefers moist, acidic, sandy loam soils with moderately good drainage, but is often found in flooded situations or at the edge of bodies of water, with some or all of its roots submerged in water. It adapts readily to moist and well-drained soils, or even dry soils of rich, poor, or average composition, and can be completely "land-locked" with no ill effects. It thrives in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 11.
Potential Problems - Baldcypress has several diseases and pests that can cause problems, but these do not usually occur. Chlorosis can be a problem in high pH soils; otherwise, this is a trouble-free species.