A bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) isn’t actually bald. Like every living tree, it grows foliage that helps it with photosynthesis. It’s a conifer, so its foliage consists of needles, not leaves. However, unlike many conifers, bald cypress is deciduous. That means that it loses its needles before winter. Bald cypress information suggests that the needles are flat and yellow-green in summer, turning rusty orange and falling in autumn.
Cypress trees have a straight trunk that tapers at the base, giving it a soaring perspective. In cultivated landscapes, they grow 50 to 80 feet (15-24 m.) tall with a spread of 20 to 30 feet (6-9 m.). These deciduous conifers have short needles with a feathery appearance. Most varieties have needles that turn brown in winter, but a few have lovely yellow or gold fall color. Bald cypress has a tendency to form “knees,” which are pieces of root that grow above the ground in odd and sometimes mysterious shapes. Knees are more common for trees grown in water, and the deeper the water, the taller the knees. Some knees reach a height of 6 feet (2 m.). Although no one is sure about the function of knees, they may help the tree get oxygen when they are underwater. These projections are sometimes unwelcome in the home landscape because they make mowing difficult and they can trip passers-by.