View Full Version : Bald Cypress or Oak Trees for Central Florida?

11-29-2004, 12:24 PM

I recently joined NADF and my gift was the 10 Free Trees; there are a lot of oak trees in my area, and the area that I specifically live in, there are no shade trees. This is especially damaging on my lawn and young garden. I chose the bald cypress trees because I couldn't think of where I would put no more than 2 of the large oak trees in my yard. And I was thinking that the bald cypress would grow much faster and provide me with the shaded areas that I needed. Upon retrospection, I'm thinking that I may have made the wrong choice, because I have a very small front yard and the bald cypresses would be too overshadowing once they reached their mature growth. If I could, I would attach a picture of my lawn and let you help me to decide. Because of the size of my yard should I have chosen bald cypress or oak tree? What say ye?

Thanks in Advance!

11-29-2004, 01:13 PM
Cent Fla, what's the deminsions of your yard? When I bought my house I got a property diagram which displayed how many feet it was from my front door to the street, etc.

Arbor day lists the expected spread of the trees they sell. My feet are more or less a foot long :) so when planting I start off at the location of the tree to be and then heel to toe it until I get to 1/2 the spread and stick a stick :) into the ground to mark the expected spread of the tree at maturity. I then did this for the other trees I wanted to plant and tried to come up with a plan which had them all clear of eachother or barely touching.

Also take into account the probable shape of the tree. Cypresses around here are almost always cone shaped witht the lower branches fairly close to the ground. I have seen a few pruned up where they can be mowed under. Pin Oaks grow similarly when young but then spread out and almost everyone prunes the lower branches to create walking space. Other oaks are more like upside down coffee cup shapes. Also, some oaks are not very slow growers and do grow a couple feet per year.

I can see where you could be happy with either or both. A thinner cypress may fit in a low damp location between your house and a neighbor's while an oak could nicely fill a spot opposite your driveway in the front yard.

11-29-2004, 02:08 PM
Thanks! Toronado3800

I appreciate the good information. I was just concerned about the bald cypress, because it seems that every where I read about it, it seems to do better or prefer damp, wet, moist, or swampy areas, and my yard is no where to even close of one of those descriptions. I would say my area is hot, dry, and durning the summer, especially hot and dry. I think that I will go ahead and give the bald cypress a chance, and I might just purchase a couple of fast growing oaks to get some shaded areas quickly (that is really my goal). Thanks again!

11-29-2004, 07:06 PM

I would say that your instinct is right - the soil conditions are one of the first things you need to consider when selecting a tree, and bald-cypress is likely to want a much wetter soil than what you're describing.

I'm in Ocala, and I also have a dry, sandy soil. I'm resigned to planting tree species that can tolerate droughty soil - such as oaks, hickories, pines, etc. A bald-cypress on my site would need to be indefinitely kept on "artificial life support" (heavy watering) for its lifetime, and even then it would probably do poorly.

11-30-2004, 08:12 AM
I checked a couple of sources, and they stated that the Bald Cypress can chug along happily in dry soil, it's just happier in wet...

If your soil is sandy, adding organic matter can help retain water.

Good luck!

(On other related news, I planted a Bald Cypress on Thanksgiving, two days later we had an extreme amount of rainfall, and water was about six inches up on it - I was worried it wouldn't have a good grasp on the ground yet, but it hung on and seems quite happy...)

Quirky Quercus
11-30-2004, 06:39 PM
I checked a couple of sources, and they stated that the Bald Cypress can chug along happily in dry soil, it's just happier in wet...

I know. What are you talking about sac?

If it will make your decision any easier, ADF won't ship OAKs to FL. Other than that I'd prefer a bald cypress. Semi-evergreen oaks in Florida....Yawn.

12-01-2004, 02:33 PM
Unfortunately, the state of Florida will not allow oak tree in the state unless they are fumigated. Many commercial nurseries fumigate their trees for a small charge and one that I know of is www.musserforests.com.