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What is a Pond Cypress?

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  • Written By: Vasanth S.
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2016
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A pond cypress is a deciduous tree that is part of the Taxodiaceae plant family. It has a narrow, pyramidal form that features pointed twig-like leaves. This type of tree generally grows along the edges of streams or swamps. The pond cypress is usually planted in parking lot islands or on residential streets. It is easy to maintain, but the pond cypress is susceptible to the fungal disease twig blight.

Scientifically, the pond cypress is known as Taxodium ascendens. It is similar to Taxodium distichum, which is commonly referred to as the bald cypress. The pond cypress shares the plant genus Taxodium with another tree, Taxodium mucronatum, which is called Montezuma cypress.

The habitat of the pond cypress consists of shallow ponds and wetlands. It is native to the coastal plains of southeastern U.S. The pond cypress can thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 5b-9.

This tree generally grows 50-60 feet (15-18 m) in height and spreads about 10-15 feet (3-4.5 m). It has a symmetrical canopy that is narrow at the top and broad at the bottom. The dense foliage consists of green leaves that turn copper during the fall.

The flowers of this tree bloom during the spring and aren't especially noticeable. They give way to brown fruits that are oval and usually 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) in diameter. Birds and squirrels feed on the fruits.

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This tree can thrive in most types of soil including sand, loam, and clay. The soil pH typically ranges from acidic to slightly alkaline. A soil pH above 7.5 is considered too alkaline for the pond cyprus. In its natural habitat, the soil is wet and sometimes submerged.

Since the soil can become flooded, this tree has developed unique root projections that stick up through the soil and above the water. This allows the roots to exchange gases with the atmosphere. The lack of drainage doesn't hinder the tree.

When there is a lack of water, this tree utilizes another unique adaptation to survive. It will drop leaves during extended periods of drought to save water for vital parts of the tree. The lack of leaves doesn't affect the tree.

A more serious problem that affects this tree is twig blight. The fungal disease causes the tips of branches to decay. If left untreated, the entire branch can rot. It is recommended to prune dead branches to prevent the fungus from spreading.

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