When most people think of bald cypress, they picture a plant in an arboretum or botanical garden. The bald cypress appears to be a novelty tree. Bald cypress care and its cultivars are neglected and underappreciated in the landscape, despite their durability, longevity, and overall landscape value. In Texas, bald cypress grows at elevations ranging from 989 to 1748 feet (300 to 530 meters). There have been reports of bald cypress growing in zones 5 and colder in Minnesota and New York.
It can withstand high winds, ice, and snow with little to no damage. The fresh seed cones are symmetric with a faint pinkish-green tint, and the tree itself makes a breathtakingly attractive silhouette in the winter. When a bald cypress tree is planted in or near water, it develops knees. They are irregular conical constructions that protrude above the water line or ground level around the tree. Bald cypress knees are a unique feature that is not found in any other conifer species.
Bald cypress growing in moist environments can become large over time, but trees living in a regular terrain can develop faster. Landscape trees will have more limbs and thus more leaves, but water-stressed trees will have fewer limbs and leaves. The origins of 'Cascade Falls' can be traced back to a New Zealand horticulturalist, Graeme Platt, and his wife. One tree, however, had a cascading growth pattern that garden visitors remarked on. 'Cascade Falls,' a bald cypress, is now widely available in the United States.
'Peve Yellow' is a yellow-needled, heavily branching tree that grows half as fast as bald cypress. Job Vergeldt prunes the branches annually to 1-2"", resulting in what she refers to as a "forest of green totem-poles." She chose a 'wettish' area of her land, but observes that given her Mediterranean climate, the trees survive with only twice-weekly drip irrigation. Pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) has increased in favor in recent years, in part because it is smaller, narrower, and more conical than Bald Cypress. Pond cypress is less resilient than bald cypress and, unlike bald cypress, does not flourish in the Mississippi River delta.
It is a highly underutilized conifer with a magnetic drawing force that draws one's quick attention. The largest tree on the National Register of Big Trees is a 100-foot-tall tree in Bowie, Maryland, according to the National Register of Big Trees.