I received this tree as a gift and there is a nasty trunk chop. I need to determine how to best blend in a new leader and am unsure if it is possible to transition given the material. Should I be trying to refine and taper the trunk chop slowly over time to Achieve a decent crown?
If you want to develop a smooth transition you need to let the new leader grow. However, if it were my tree I would just start developing the apex from what you have along with branches to create a formal upright. You can prune out some of the dead stump at the apex to get a tapered would that will probably callus over. It looks like the upright branches are well enough established that you could cut off the branch that sticks out to the left in the second image and create a moderate taper. Just be careful to not run the taper too close to anything you want to keep in case you get additional die back.
I agree with Marty. As another possible alternative to consider, many bald cypress I see have a split trunk and two fairly equal leaders forming the apex, and split about half way or even further up the tree. This may be an alternative to hide such a drastic trunk, but still keep the current style. May be worth a think, at least.
Just my opinion…
The tree is already too tall for a good final size. Not much taper. I would go down about 1/3, find an appropriate bud or limb to pull up for the new leader. Cut at an obtuse angle and paste. Problems solved.
If you have NOT, watch the DR video(s.). Right now is the time to do bud/leaf pruning.