Is my Bald Cypress alive?

I acquired this Bald Cypress from an estate in April

. I was told it still may have some life in it. It was largely ignored for 5 years and was extremely pot bound. I transplanted it in pumice, pearlite, orchid bark and a small amount of potting soil mix (20% maybe). It is very well watered and drains really well. Thus far all I have gotten is a profuse quantity of suckers around the base of the tree. I have attached a photo below. Other than continue to pray, is there anything else I should consider doing? I live in Southern California.

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I am pretty sure it is alive due to the suckers at the bottom. However, I think you are going to end up with an interesting lightening struck style tree where the main trunk is a jin.

:flushed: well that will be interesting. Any suggestions about how to encourage actual branches?

This year I would let it grow to gain strength. Early next spring I I would prune it back leaving some of the woodier bits - leaving more than you want from the design - and start wiring them up. I would envision a clump style tree where it sprouted from the roots after lightening killed the main trunk. As part of that I would plan to do some major carving - perhaps splitting the trunk from the top for 1/3 - 1/2 the height. I think you can tell a really neat story with this tree. Not the traditional bald cypress story, but the atypical stories can be among the best.


Thanks for you input Marty. I never thought of the design elements you described and I can see that the possibility of a striking bonsai are possible. Hopefully I don’t kill it off in the process. I am still looking for signs of strength.

That looks like asparagus fern foliage, not BC.


I will post an up close photo of the foliage tomorrow. It would be quite a surprise to me if it is a fern.

I’m with @Bonsai_Bentley, looks like type of asparagus fern to me too.

Not sure that it is actually a fern vs. the common name. There’s a bunch of Asparaus spieces that have common name of Asparagus Fern ( Asparagus virgatus, A. aethiopicus, A. macowanii are a few).

Maybe scratch around a bit and see if it is connected to the trunk (or has a rhizome or corm, which the asparagus ferns do)


I don’t know if it’s a fern or not but a I’m pretty sure the growth isn’t BC. Have you watched the BC partial defoliation stream?

No I have not seen that stream but I will start watching it today. Thanks for the heads-up. The fern diagnosis is interesting. When I brought the tree home and started watering it, the suckers started coming from the base of the tree (eg appeared to be growing out of the roots of tree). I removed them hoping that whatever strength they were using would be directed to the top of the tree.

After repotting the suckers began appearing again; even after reducing the rootball by 50%. As I said, I will take an up close photo today of those… whatever they are.

image image image

Have you scratched the trunk to see if there is any green anywhere?

That’s definitely not bald cypress foliage. Looks like the Sprengeri variety of asparagus fern.

Bald cypress foliage

I did. Sadly I am not finding anything.

Just to be clear; it looks like a volunteer fern growing from underneath a dead BC trunk. Sucks because that would have been a sweet BC.

Thanks for all your information guys. I am convinced now that this is indeed a fern and the the tree is a goner. My final question is, could the fern have played a role in the trees demise? As I said, this growth was evident when I brought the tree home but I cut it back before transplanting.

Thanks again,

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