Soil Type for Bald Cypress in Development

I am wanting to repot three bald cypress. I purchased from a nursery last summer. They are around 2-4 years old. Currently it looks like they are in a field soil. Just topsoil and Clay. I’m guessing they were dug from the field and dropped in the pot.
What is the best soil to use for my repot? They are only in development and I’m wanting them to continue to grow in a nursery pot. I generally use a mixture of fox farm, happy, frog, and perlite.
Thanks and I look forward to your help

I use a mix of screened bark, pumice (both 1/16" to 1/3"), and aged steer manure for development. It drains far better than the finer potting soils, leaves the roots fairly easy to detangle, and results in good growth due to the organic portions. I would use something similar for your bald cypress.


I don’t have any Bald Cypress but I do have a Dawn Redwood in development. Currently potted in a 50/50 mix of pumice and fir bark. It’s very happy in this mix. You could add a bit of compost if you’re not able to water them daily or multiple times a day in the high heat of summer.

I know you said you’d like to stay in a nursery container and I can understand why, but I recommend you keep your nursery containers wider than they are tall whenever possible. Will help promote lateral root development.

I repot just when the trees roots are beginning to circle the pot ( prior to them having actually circled ). During your repots I recommend making sure the roots at the base aren’t tangling one another and are spread as horizontally as you can get them (within reason) to help develop a nice nebari.

The most common issue I’ve had with nursery grown trees is they don’t put any attention into how the structural roots at the base are developing. This results in trees that end up girdling their own trunks and developing next to no flair at their base. The girdling will mar the trunk wherever it occurs. I believe once the responsible root is removed, the mar will slowly heal over many years. Best to avoid imo though.

With that said there are some nursery grown trees that have phenomenal bases, I’d guess it’s more luck though than technique, unless it’s a specialized nursery.

Just my 0.2 cents from a guy developing a different but similar deciduous-conifer. Full disclosure I’ve only been doing this for about 4 years now and am not a pro. Hopefully other more experienced individuals can chime in as well.

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Good points by @_semper. I use mesh bottom boxes or large nursery pots that have been cut down to less than 1/2 the original height to get the spreading roots. It took about 10 years to convert the roots of a bald cypress that went straight down the sides of a 3 gallon nursery can into a good basal flare.


thanks for the advice. I actually built boxes out of cedar fence boards and will use the boxes instead of the nursery cans.

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thanks for the help. When my bald cypress started to grow this year it had a bunch of buds sprout out on the trunk. Should I cut those off right away or wait till after they harden off. I don’t want the upper branches to die off but I also don’t want the tree to lose all its strength
if I cut them off early.

Since you repotted I would allow the buds to grow to help drive root growth. Small wounds (pencil siize) on bald cypress heal over quite well and the bark covers them in a couple of years. However, they will continue to push buds in the future so those should be rubbed off as they appear.

Even very large wounds will heal over time even in a pot. By growing out a couple of sacrifice branches I heated a 4 x 10 cm wound over about 6 years. it is starting to bark up a little about 10 years after the cut.

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