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Why Is My Bald Cypress Tree Turning Yellow?

Yellowing tree leaves is a good sign that your tree is experiencing distress. Determining why your tree is turning yellow can be a little more complicated. If you have a bald cypress that has leaves turning yellow, you may be wondering what's going on. We've done the research and can tell you what could be wrong.

A bald cypress tree can turn yellow due to chlorosis, high temperatures, or underwatering. Chlorosis is a common disease that bald cypress grown in alkaline soil deal with. It is caused by a lack of iron intake but can also be caused by a lack of magnesium.

Fortunately, there is still time to help your bald cypress. Keep reading to learn how to fix a yellowing bald cypress, the best types of fertilizers for this tree, and more important information!

Colorful winter Bald Cypress tree, Colorful winter Bald Cypress tree, Why Is My Bald Cypress Tree Turning Yellow?

Iron ChlorosisColorful winter Bald Cypress tree (Wuling Farm in Taichung,Taiwan)

Iron chlorosis is one of the most common reasons a bald cypress tree will start turning yellow. This is a fairly common disease for this tree but is more likely to occur if it's grown in alkaline soil

Chlorosis can happen in patches or can affect the entire tree. If left untreated, the leaves will go from yellow to white, and finally brown. Your plant will die if the deficiency isn't corrected.

Testing Soil

Iron deficiencies are common in bald cypress trees. However, low amounts of magnesium can cause leaves to turn yellow. There is also the possibility that high phosphorus levels are preventing your tree from absorbing iron.

Before you start amending your soil or adding nutrients to your plant, you should be sure that you're adding the proper nutrients.

Check out this mail-in soil test kit on Amazon!

Adding Iron to Soil

Fortunately, it is possible to help plants that have chlorosis. One way to provide iron is to amend the soil. You can attempt to lower the pH of the earth. However, this isn't easy because you can't affect the soil's pH levels at a deep level.

You can also add iron to the soil. Use chelated iron fertilizers or iron sulfate to help add oil into the ground.

Check out this chelated iron with 13% iron on Amazon.

Iron sulfate or ferrous sulfate can also help you lower the soil's pH levels. This can make it easier for your plants to take in the iron.

Check out this 20% Iron 12% Sulfur ferrous sulfate on Amazon.

Iron Sprays

You can also add iron directly to the leaves with iron sulfate or iron chelate solution spray. Unfortunately, this method only fixes the areas being sprayed. So, this is a temporary solution.

Check out this chelated liquid iron on Amazon.

Iron Implants

Finally, you can add iron directly into the tree's trunk. This method is effective. A new treatment shouldn't be necessary for two to three years. Unfortunately, this method damages the tree because you'll have to drill into the tree to apply the treatment.

For best results, pick a day that isn't dry, windy, or hot. You should also ensure your tree is adequately watered before and after drilling. This will help minimize stress.

Check out these iron tree implants on Amazon.

Water or Heat Problems

Bald Cypress Taxodium Distichum green tree in public landscape in sunny autumn

Another potential cause of leaf yellowing is dry soil, high temperatures, or a combination of the two. Bald cypress trees are native to swamps and bayous. So, while the plant can do well in dry soil, too much and it will start to show signs of stress.

You'll know your plant is experiencing water or heat stress if you also notice drooping leaves. If left untreated, the bald cypress leaves will turn from yellow to orange before eventually dropping. You'll also notice yellowing at the tips of the leaves first.

Fixing Watering Issues

If you've experienced hotter weather, then you should increase the water your bald cypress is getting. You should water your plant deeply at least once a week to help it recover from heat stress.

You can also use mulch to help the soil retain moisture. Consider using compost or peat moss. Peat moss tends to hold water better than compost. So, it may be more beneficial for keeping your tree hydrated.

Check out this organic peat moss on Amazon.

Can you overwater a bald cypress?

Bald Cypress trees. Kyudainomori in Sasaguri, Fukuoka, Japan.

Bald cypress trees are frequently found in swamps, along rivers, and in bayous. So, it's unlikely that you can overwater these plants. However, if they grow in frequently water-logged soil, they'll develop cypress knees.

Cypress knees form above the roots of the tree. Their use is currently unknown. However, many speculate that they help to aerate the roots and help to anchor the tree.

If your bald cypress has knees, you may be wondering if you can remove them. Gardeners are generally divided on the subject. Many consider it safe if the knee is small and far from the tree. However, others say that it's not worth putting the tree through the stress.

What is the best fertilizer for cypress trees?

You should use a balanced fertilizer for your cypress trees. A balanced fertilizer has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. You can use a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer every couple of years.

Check out this balanced fertilizer on Amazon.

You can also use high-quality compost to help fertilize the soil. Add a layer of compost around your tree. It will act as a layer of mulch. When it breaks down, the compost will add nutrients to the soil.

For more information using compost, check out:"Does Compost Go On Top Of Soil?"

Check out this compost on Amazon.

How do you revive a cypress tree?

Bald cypress Taxodium Distichum (swamp, white-cypress, gulf or tidewater red cypress) is green tree.

You can help revive a cypress tree by ensuring you are watering it properly, providing it with the proper nutrients, and removing diseased or broken branches as you notice them.

You should test your soil to ensure it is at the right pH level, has the proper nutrients, and is hydrated enough. These trees can adapt to a variety of conditions. However, they do best in moist, acidic soils. A soil test will help you determine how to amend the soil.

Excessive pruning can eventually kill a cypress tree. However, you can safely remove broken or unhealthy branches. If you need to trim the tree, you should do it before new growth comes in the spring. 

How long do cypress trees live?

Alley of bald cypress trees in city park Krasnodar or Galitsky park

Bald cypress trees are one of the longest living trees in the world. On average, these trees will live for around 600 years. However, there are a few who have lived much longer than that.

How old is the oldest bald cypress?

There are two known bald cypress trees that are over 2,000 years old. One of these trees is found in North Carolina. It is at least 2,624 years old.

The other bald cypress, nicknamed "Big Dan," is growing in Florida. It is approximately 2,704 years old.

In Conclusion

Bald cypress trees are fairly adaptable to different soil conditions. However, a few situations could cause the leaves of this tree to turn yellow. Iron chlorosis, caused by a lack of iron, or hot and dry conditions, can cause this to happen. Try testing your soil so you can adequately amend your soil. Don't forget to water more when conditions are drier.

Check out "What's The Best Time To Plant Cypress Trees?" for even more great information!