The Long-Lasting Tree That Will Thrive In Your Damp Yard

The bald cypress tree is a massive deciduous conifer often found dripping with Spanish moss amongst a forest of tall trunks topped with a dense canopy. This famous, ancient plant is even one of the oldest living trees in North America, so if you've visited Southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana, then you've probably seen one. In addition to being an old species, these trees have very long lives and can often last up to 600 years. Bald cypress trees are also known for their association with swamps.

These trees are well-adapted to standing water, and they grow along the river's edge and in wetlands. They are essential for preventing erosion and soaking up pollutants and floodwater, as well as providing homes and breeding grounds for various animals. While bald cypress trees can handle a variety of soil types, they seem to prefer wet conditions. Whether you have standing water, occasional flooding, or waterlogged soil, the bald cypress may be the perfect, long-lasting choice to plant in your damp backyard.

How much water does a bald cypress need?

Bald cypress trees love naturally wet areas. It's best to plant a bald cypress tree in a damp backyard, as you won't need to water it as much. But if the soil surrounding the tree is not moist, you'll need to water it weekly for the first two years. After this time, they won't need nearly as much water, and you can water them once or twice a month (in drought conditions). 

While the bald cypress tree can benefit when the soil is consistently moist, it will grow fine in less damp conditions. Bald cypress trees typically love wet soil but can also grow in sandy, compacted, poorly drained, and heavy soils. This versatility allows them to establish themselves in various landscapes and backyards. But a bald cypress tree growing in drier conditions won't develop the classic "knees" they're known for. These knees are the knobby outgrowths of roots found surrounding the base of the tree. Knees are most likely to grow when a bald cypress tree is standing in water.

Other tips for planting bald cypress trees

When planting a bald cypress tree in your yard, choose a location that receives full sun or part shade. Full sun means it receives between six and eight hours of sunlight daily, and part shade receives between two and six hours each day. As for the climate, bald cypress trees can grow in around half of the USDA Growing Zones (specifically zones 4a-9b). These trees grow in Northern states like Minnesota, North Dakota, and Maine, as well as in Southern states like Florida and Texas. Its adaptability and resilience make it a great, long-lasting tree for your damp yard.

These trees also need a good deal of space to grow. They reach heights up to 120 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Their expansive size means they need ample space to thrive, so they don't topple onto your home or other plants in your yard. So, if you have the space and the right conditions, these massive trees are a great choice for homeowners looking to soak up standing water.