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Bald cypress in chalky soil (and water rich soil)

User
8 years ago

The bald cypress grows in chalky soil? My soil is calcareous and rich in organic matter. The pH is neutral (7)

Thank you

Comments (85)

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    It very well may. Are there mitigating circumstances? Constantly moist soil? For what you're proposing to do, may as well give it a shot. Where I'd be more cautious would be in systems planting hundreds or thousands of plants at a time, like municipalities. At that rate, you don't want to err. But for the homeowner, hobbyist, etc....why not give it a try. Maybe we'll all learn something. But yes, in neutral soils in and near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, some degree of chlorotic foliage has been noted in BC plantings.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    +om, Do you think that because of the fact that you are far to the north, that the chlorotic response could be because of the the trees being under two types of stress , cold and a higher than normal PH give the trees a double whammy.

    I do not think any one has a definite answer for you. I commiserate with your state of Nervous Nellyhood with such a sizable tree and money invested in it.

    ******************

    This big tree is in the Pedernales River and the water rose 75' in this valley at this location after a 39" of rain during the 1950's during our "drought of record". Most big trees in this area are broken but this one must have been in a hydraulic sweet spot. The river valley is very tight in this area.It scoured the banks of feet of top soil and a whole park of an ancient grove. It is nothing but a 1/2 mile long gravel and sand bank on that side of the river now where once the community would gather amongst Pecan trees who are renowned for needing rich bottomland. I have seen the water level go up 35' with house, cows and cars going down it. These rivers have a Jekyll and Hyde character. This is flash flood central. It is a wonder that there are any of these trees.

    Unfortunately this area is experiencing a large amount of growth and all the mitigating brush is being removed along the banks, replaced with manicured lawns and impervious cover is going in . More of these floods will be removing these large beauties.. A large modern cement bridge was lifted off their supports this last year and changed the hydraulic track of this deluge for miles taking out large trees that had escaped the major thrust of previous floods. Sad.

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  • Smivies (Ontario - 5b)
    8 years ago

    @wantonamara Interesting theory regarding chlorosis in the north. I've theorized that it's actually a combination of relatively young limestone derived glacial till (or clay) subsoils and topsoil that has been disturbed in cultivated (urban, suburban, and agricultural) areas which raises the topsoil pH to ~7.5. Around here on our limestone derived clays, Pin Oak is horribly chlorotic on soils disturbed in the last ~50 years but not so much when planted in our oldest parks (~150+ yrs) which were never cultivated (the original Oak savanna was thinned and the grass cut).

    In more southern moist regions, the soils are much older, deeper, weathered, and leached, even over limestone derived layers than would be seen in the younger soils of the north. This results in a much deeper layer of neutral or near neutral pH. Texas Hill Country is more arid, soils are less weathered, and soil salts are not leached away resulting in the relatively high soil pH.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago

    There are no soils or only inches where I live, but I thought that pin oak lives near by. I can't see soils getting shallower than where I am. Some of our soils are so new one can't tell the difference between the soft top limestone and the caliche. In the valleys, the limestone gets harder the deeper one goes. I have one spot that raises sparks when I pick at it. The oak leaves when they drop do make a bit of acid in the very top Inch under the trees. I am lucky if I have three inches under the trees in some places. One of my favorite pastimes is to complain about my dirt. I have made my nick name Marl.

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    I have only ever heard pH considered as a limiting factor. They are cold-hardy here. Now, all of the trees I'm talking about here are street trees, so there is indeed a double-whammy, but not one of unsuitable climate. No, it's the severely disturbed soils-crappy for most trees really-that these things are forced to contend with. And as with any planting, if you're fortunate enough to be in an old part of town, the soil will be much, much better, and the chlorosis problems will be much less.

    We've got some BC in a park here that are doing pretty well. Ironically though, this is a rather newish park, and just as with housing development, the equipment used to grade this former farm area was heavy and probably lots of the top soil got hauled away-not really sure on that. But highly disturbed.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    -----> Smives Your theory is true, even in the study of forestal soils is so. The carbonates are washed out with the rain. My soil is natural, they are 100 years that is left uncultivated. The bald cypress resist on this soil at pH 7.5? My soil is derived from calcareous sediments. Shells of marine crustaceans. The stone of my soil is Pink. Is Limestone with iron impurities.



    ------>Wisconsitom the bald cypresses of my city park grow on slightly alkaline soil. The color of pH test is blue, but this soil don't have limestone. My soil yes.


    -----> Wantonamara the pH of the Rio Blanco soil is more high than 7.5?

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Yes, My guess is 8 . I HAVE NOT TESTED IT. I have heard of 8.3 in the area but that was in the uplands not in the valley. I have not tested mine. I just add compost everytime I turn around. Sulphur does not work well for me because the limestone is all through my "soil".

  • edlincoln
    8 years ago

    Nice roots on the trees in the park...I love cypress roots.

    Some of those potted bald cypress seem to have a lot of trunk for very little in the way of roots...but I always think that.

    Someone on here suggested ferrous sulphate for chlorosis, on the theory that maybe it won't able to change the ph of the soil, but hopefully it will create a temporary spot of iron rich, acidic soil for the trees to get their iron from.,,

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    If the soil is too alkaline chlorosis occurs immediately or after years?

    Chlorosis by high soil ph

  • scotjute Z8
    8 years ago


    I have one eastern Bald Cypress growing well at 10-12' by creek on 7.5 pH soil. Had another in my yard in same soil. The tree in the yard developed chlorosis in a year and I replaced it with one from central Tx. When I did a group of seedlings years ago sourced from Louisiana (eastern type), about 30% adapted and did well for two yrs. before cows trampled them all to death. From what I am seeing, no one can tell if your tree will do well or not in your soil until you try it if soil pH is 7.5. IF others have successfully grown them in same soil, you are probably ok, but it is still a gamble. Just planting a tree that big seems to be a gamble also.

    Incidentally, there are several knowledgeable people who believe that the central Tx Bald Cypress are a hybrid between the standard Bald Cypress and the Montezuma Cypress.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    ok so if the tree has not adapted see it within the first year

    but how is it that some eastern bald cypresses live well in calcareous soil and others not?

  • User
    8 years ago

    It would seem that there are 2 distinct types - Mara's Texan variety being a sort of subspecies or,variation...or, as Scotjute implies, a hybrid of 2 separate species.

    But hey - what are you going to do - you have to plant it somewhere, right...or can you return it to the nursery?

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I'm still doing the pit for taxodium. very large..the soil in depth has always ph +/- 7.5


    the only alternative would be to taxodium it's a sequoia sempervirens. redwood grows in limestone soil pH 7.5? but the bald cypress (in my opinion) is more beautiful

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Strob, if I'm understanding you, you are talking about the difference between soil pH and soil alkalinity, and yes, that's a real thing. There are plants that don't like very much calcium in the soil and there are plants that don't handle high pH well, and they might not be the same plants. But let me see now...you've got this tree already, right? I would plant it, I would liberally treat the backfill soil with sulfur, and I'd sit back and observe. One nice thing about that soil sulfur-even if it eventually peters out, it is a simple matter to apply more.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    If the planting site is moisture rich, does the sulfur leach into the water and become a problem to the ground water and nearby stream.? I am always concerned about fertilizing and applying chemicals close to water. I am not very knowledgeable about this . I use caution to pad my ignorance.

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    I applaud your concern. Much preferable to all those flinging these things willy-nilly, onto sidewalks, curbs, streets, etc....

    Now, ta answer your question, the dreaded words-I'm not certain! Sulfur is bound up by soil bacteria, that I do know but these same bacteria are busily converting it to supremely water-soluble sulfuric acid. However, that acid is so reactive, I would tend to doubt any of it would travel at all, it being immediately recombined with metallic and other ions in the soil. I've never heard any concerns in this direction.

    Now regular fertilizers-there I'm super-concerned about all of those nutrients getting into our waters. That's a huge issue, obviously. Sulfur is sometimes considered "the fourth member of "the big three" nutrients. That is, even though dubbed one of the micros, it is required in relatively large amounts such that it could almost be considered a macronutrient. I don't think elemental sulfur will cause problems.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    The soil I want to let natural without using sulfur, one on which I would like to shed some light is the great contradiction of the internet on the bald cypress:

    The RHS says the bald cypress is suitable for chalky soil:

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/17999/i-Taxodium-distichum-i/Details

    University of Texas says otherwise:

    http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=TADI2


    Who is right?

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Wisconsitom ---->okay, the bald cypress thing does not tolerate? Limestone or alkalinity? Or both ? Or anyone? I'm internet confused

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The Lady bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Database is good BUT I have caught them in some very bad mistakes. The trees grow out of limestone out here. They have pictures of them growing out of limestone. They have not mentioned in the entry that there are differences in the populations. This is a weird miss for them. They have been redoing their website.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thank you very much Wantonamara

    The website of Royal Horticultural Society is reliable? (Campanula it's a question for you and other British user)

    My professor of forestal soils He said that my soil has pH 7.7-7.8.
    0.2 or 0.3 points from 7.5 can determine the leaf chlorosis? I'm very interested because the bald cypress is my second favourite tree and this is my first bald cypress and Big (and much expensive) tree. In the italian garden forums people don't have experience with this acquatic conifer

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Strob, I can only repeat-plant your tree, amend the soil with granular sulfur, and see how it goes. Your soil pH sounds high to me for this plant....but it's one plant! Give it a whirl. Where I get concerned is when we're contemplating hundreds of a single item. One plant? Go for it!

  • User
    8 years ago

    As a rule, the RHS maintains a useful and reliable set of data...but always remember, each garden (and gardener) is unique. If not one problem, you will encounter a different one...but hey, it is sitting in your yard so bite the bullet and plant it. Chlorosis can look a bit sickly but tbh, if you can keep the moisture levels high (and the first few years will be critical establishing a tree of this size), I would be counting the possibility of chlorosis somewhere down my list of possible worries. And at the very least, it will be a huge learning experience (I have personally murdered literally hundreds of poor innocent plants).

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Tomorrow I will post the photo of the hole and my soil.

    My professor of soil sciences advised me to put plenty of acidified organic matter to make sure that the plant will create an "environment" for her. It's correct? I already bought 140 liters of peat and 50 of cow manure. can i put them?

  • User
    8 years ago

    The short answer is no, Strobs. But because I am still a tree planting novice, I am going to step back and let some of the forum experts in this area explain the ramifications of soil amendments (Tom, Embo, GardenGal, Edincoln ArbourDave, Brandon...in fact, pretty much everyone except me).

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    http://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/atlas/tree/niche.php?spp=221&t=2


    In this link Click on "eastern US soil" and look the pH range of bald cypress. It's correct? For the forest Service of United States the bald cypress can grow in soil with ph ~8...


    The Big hole for bald cypress. The soil is drained but slightly humid





  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    This morning I re-read the whole discussion, but it is not clear whether the bald cypress is a plant that tolerates or not limestone. Only the variety Texan does well on alkaline soil. But limestone? I'm confused, the web sites are most confused than me :-(

  • scotjute Z8
    8 years ago

    The Texas Hill Country variety of bald cypress are often found growing directly on top of limestone.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago

    you are expecting a bunch of gardeners to be clear? Maybe we are clear as fog. Ultimately, you will just have to or not have to make the jump and , yes it is a gamble. We can commiserate but we can not address all your fears. Sorry.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I just wanted to know if anyone had direct experience of cultivation on calcareous soil. there's nothing to apologize for, you are have been very kind and helpful :-)

    Unfortunately, the confusion of the botanic experts in their websites is a lot

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    No-one have a experience of normal bald cypress (no Texas variety) in limestone/chalky soil?

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago

    I don't blame you for your Questions.. Even in Texas, it is hard to tell where the tree comes from. East or west. Someone might have grown a eastern one on chalky soil but didn't know it or could prove where it came from. People plant them on faith or in ignorance. Sometime ignorance is bliss, but sometimes not. I know of one huge old cypress that is in the parking lane of a road in central Austin. It is against the law but but it is historic so it is above the law. It must have its toes in a underground spring because the pavement goes right up to it. I always wonder who has run into it. It is a big one.

    I see a business opportunity for you here or at least a study or paper on the subject.. Maybe you should get some Central Texas cones and plant some and some Eastern ones and do a double blind study. Since the question is not being answered by quizzing us or reading websites. , maybe you can answer the question another way, ... by your own ingenuity.

  • User
    8 years ago

    Well, I am growing the not dissimilar metasequoia on Norfolk Crag (aka shelly sand, ph 8) in a river valley (so high water table). There is (so far) no sign of chlorosis on my tree which has been in the ground for 2 seasons (this will be the third). I will say you shouldn't be putting in all that peat and manure though - you need to start as you mean to carry on and treating trees or any woodies to a hugely amended hole risks numerous issues with drainage and a reluctance for roots to venture out of their comfort zone. Whack in a bit of granular sulfur, do the pine needle (and coffee grounds) mulching and even do a sequestrene treatment every year but mainly, it is down to watering.

    Honestly Strobs, your biggest problem is going to keep that bad boy watered.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    thank you Wantonamara and Campanula. as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center it is not very reliable I can trust the Royal Horticultural Society?

    some university site that placed reliable information exists?

    I would not want the test to be done on the '' bark 'of the poor cypress

  • scotjute Z8
    8 years ago

    Strobiloblu. I have planted 12 Bald Cypress from standard eastern bald cypress population. One tree from walmart - it developed chlorosis and I dug it up. One from National Arbor Day. It grew from 18" to 12' and is doing fine. 10 seedlings I dig up from a Louisiana swamp. 3 of them did well, the others did not. My soil pH is 7.5.

    User thanked scotjute Z8
  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    thank you Scotjute. your soil is only alkaline or also calcareous?


  • scotjute Z8
    8 years ago

    The soil has thin layers (6" or less) of limestone running thru it diagonally if thst makes any sense. Soil is 1.5 - 3 ' thick. Subsoil is a yellow brown caliche clay with broken limestone in it that extends to about 20' deep. Under that is gray shale for 200-400' or so.

    User thanked scotjute Z8
  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Good, at least one test is that the bald cypress can live on the soil containing limestone
    In nature ( apart from the Texas soils ) on which they live is? The moist soils of the southeastern United States...

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    For that matter, a great deal of the bald cypress found growing in Florida is in areas of limestone. That whole state-as far as I can tell-is either sand, crushed seashells, or limestone rock. Yet bald cypress is extremely commonplace there, excepting for where a new Walmart or giant subdivision has to go.

    User thanked wisconsitom
  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Really? All Florida? Taxodium grow in all tipe of soil or only in sandy soil?

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Well, here we go again.....I am not here to describe Florida's soil and underlying parent material in great detail. I am merely saying-based on a handful of trips to that part of the world-that Florida is very rich in limestone. No, I haven't surveyed every square foot of the state.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    And in this handful of trips you saw cypress trees grow on limestone?


  • User
    8 years ago

    Oh ffs, plant the tree Strobilo. Look, I am going to give you faith that life is tenacious and rules are to be broken. This is, in my humble opinion, the best tree in Cambridge. In an historic city full of fabulous specimens, many hundreds of years old



    , this is really special. Against all predictions of hardiness, soil conditions, sheer improbability. have a look at this - a madrone (I think it is a.arachnoides) growing in Cambridge chalk. There are no other specimens - certainly nothing at our prestigious botanics to compare...and to completely amaze you even more, this is growing in a council house garden (public housing projects).

    I have to leap off my bike and pay homage every time I pass by.

    However, I seem to have buggered up the orientation so anyone savvy enough to reorient - would be grateful

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    8 years ago

    Maybe you fell on your side when you jumped off your bicycle..

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I'm sorry you're angry, but my concern is just to respect and love towards a tree, I can not really treat it like a stone. However Friday i will bring my soil to a laboratory, and I will have correct data on the pH.

  • User
    8 years ago

    No, course I am not angry Strobilu...and I know you spent and arm and a leg to buy this tree...but sometimes, it is better to simply plant in hope because those rules have a habit of confounding us...and if you do have love and respect, then that can count for |(almost) as much as the optimum conditions...in fact, is that not what gardening really is - a matter of total artifice and unnatural collections and communities of plants which, left to their own devices, would be either thugged out, vanished or running amok...but under our care and tutelage, we can create our very own Eden..

    And ultimately, what, really are your choices - to maintain it in a pot forever? Return it to the nursery?

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    "And in this handful of trips you saw cypress trees grow on limestone?"

    Uh, yes, that is my point! I saw bald cypress-I'm actually repeating myself now-growing all over the place in S. Florida, on limestone, sand, bog with unknown soil characteristics, and great heaps of bald cypress trees piled up by bulldozers to be chipped and blown into bags to sell at gas stations all over Wisconsin. You're laboring over this one tree, which I respect-to a point-but I'm afraid the Floridians uh.........see considerably less value in the species! It's just something in the way of a new Walmart.

  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Campanula ----> I would like to keep it and plant it if possible.

    Tomorrow bring the soil to analyze, publish the results

    ----> wisconsitom
    in this web page (Florida University) it is mentioned ''Cypress can grow on poorly drained clays, and pondcypress, especially, can grow well on acidic, organic soils. Growth of cypress is slow if planted over shallow limerock or hardpan. ''


    Who is LIMEROCK ?

    https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr152

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Limestone.

    User thanked wisconsitom
  • User
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    My soil now is in the laboratory.


    With a tree so big is recommended to use a lot of peat for planting?

    At home I have available 250 liters of pure peat soil