Looking for something to grow in that wet spot in the yard where everything else rots away? Try bald cypress, known scientifically as Taxodium Distichum. A really majestic tree, which can grow to over 100' in height, and live for over a thousand years. They are keystone species in the wetlands of the southern US, and with climate zones moving north, they will need a little help to colonize new areas. (While seeds have no problem going downstream, they do need a little help to go the other direction.)
I have lots of locally collected seed which I am willing to share with all you interested permies. I started 300 last year in plastic pots and used them in a mass planting we did on Martin Luther King day at the local swamp/nature park (see pic above). Not a very fussy tree, with only one natural enemy -- the nutria. As long as you don't have any nutrias in your area, you should get pretty good results with them. If you are in climate zone 6a or colder, you may have to mulch them extra well the first couple of winters, but once the roots are established below the frost depth, they are very cold tolerant as well.
I was on a road trip about 4 years ago and found some bald cypress seeds under a tree in Louisiana and brought them home as a lark.
They sprouted and now at least one of them is 6-7 feet tall in the middle of my yard.
I always assumed they HAD to be planted near water for them to grow, but apparently they do quite well on the side of a hill here in the mountains.
John, a few of my seeds are up! I think I didn't mix the ashes and water well enough for that first soak...the ashes sunk and the seeds floated, so I didn't have a quick germination but it is happening now:) I have them on the north side of our house...they are getting some sun. The area I want to plant them out in when they are big enough won't give them much sun until they are pretty tall.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Judith Browning wrote:John, a few of my seeds are up! I think I didn't mix the ashes and water well enough for that first soak...the ashes sunk and the seeds floated, so I didn't have a quick germination but it is happening now:) I have them on the north side of our house...they are getting some sun. The area I want to plant them out in when they are big enough won't give them much sun until they are pretty tall.
Yay! With a little care and good weather, they could be 3' tall by the time they go dormant in the fall.
I like this new flagging feature. Now come on folks, take a look at those beautiful bald cypress in the original post. Don't you want to raise some? I've got bags of seed I have been collecting and if you send me a PM with your mailing address, I will be glad to send you some to get your own bald cypress nursery started.
Bald cypress is normally found growing in swamps since its flood tolerant seedlings can't compete with angiosperm tree seedlings when germinating in dryer locations. Bald cypress is a good tree to plant near your house in hurricane prone areas. Its broad root system and rot resistant wood makes it almost impossible to be blown over in a high wind. Other trees that are good for planting within falling distance of your house in hurricane zones are Sabal palmetto (rarely gets blown over) and bamboo (gets blown over, but is so light weight that it does no damage).