UKTC Archive

RE: Swamp Cypress

Subject: RE: Swamp Cypress
From: "Rupert Baker"
Date: Nov 23 2021 07:49:11
Hi Simon, the Dartington one grows on an improved version of Denbigh1 soil - 
a silty clay loam, over Nordon Formation slates;  good drainage, and the area 
has been cultivated/gardened since time immemorial (though before the 
Elmhirsts bought it in the 20's, it had fallen into disrepair and had a 
piggery in the courtyard. The tree dates from the previous owners, also tree 
nuts, a family called Champernowne;  and has had a service tunnel about 2m 
deep excavated through its root system, curving around its NE half, 2m from 
the stem, back in the 30's when no-one knew any better; there is evidence of 
major roots growing over the top of the concrete box section tunnel , and 
exploiting the ground below. It is wind-exposed; it shed a very large 
2nd-order stem 20 or so years ago, on the SW side; and the two major stems 
were bolted together with about 30mm diameter stainless bolts close to the 
base (they had to bring in a special drilling rig for the operation (not 
specified by me; carried out by a local AA Approved TS company); and 
cable-braced in the upper canopy. It has lived through some major blows, and 
only sheds small (<100mm) branches. 

-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Simon Jones
Sent: 22 November 2021 18:26
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: RE: Swamp Cypress

Oisin, I've lived next to a mature swamp cypress for the last 24 years: it's 
growing in my neighbour's garden and overhangs mine. Trunk diameter c. 900mm, 
height now c. 17m but previously well over 20m before my neighbour had it 
reduced a few years ago after the top of one of its two main stems blew out. 
It grows on a clay soil and is wind exposed to both the south west and the 
north east. To the north west is a very large beech which I think it's 
reasonable to surmise channels the wind around itself and probably increases 
the load on the swamp cypress. I have noted that, in common with your 
experience, it tends to shed branches on a regular basis: at least one a 
year, usually 100mm to 150mm in diameter at point of origin/failure point and 
with tears down into the trunk or stem up to a metre or so long. When I pick 
them up (most fall into my garden) I am always struck by how wet, dense and 
heavy the wood seems. Also like you, I've never found any evidence of 
disease, decay or dysfunction.

So I'm minded to take the view that if both wind-exposed and on a wet soil, 
it is a species which in the UK has a propensity for branch failure. I've 
assumed, perhaps wrongly, that in its natural habitat, wind exposure is 
uncommon. Would this be so? And I'm interested to hear of the Dartington Hall 
specimen: is this wind-exposed, or wind-protected? And on what type of soil 
is it growing?

Pain in the neck in December when all the needles fall (again in my garden). 
Usually too wet to burn; too woody to compost....

Kind regards,


Simon Jones

Tel.:  01737 XXXXXX

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Oisin Kelly
Sent: 22 November 2021 12:35
To: UK Tree Care 
Subject: Swamp Cypress

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Thoughts please.

I have been looking at a large swamp cypress (25m tall, 125cm DBH). It was 
previously twin stemmed, but one of the stems was truncated at 4m.

Image attached.

In the past few years, it has shed several branches  - around 2 to 4m long, 
with basal diameter up to 150mm. After each occasion, I have inspected, but 
have not found any sign of disease, dysfunction that might alert one to 
further failures. I suspect, this may be something typical of the species and 
age. Does anyone have knowledge or experience of this? Also, any ideas on 
what pruning might be reasonably carried out to reduce the risk of branch 
failure - the short side branches do not seem to lend themselves to lateral 





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The UKTC forum is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy and
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