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Our Bald Cypress - Trees with Knees that Please

Updated on January 11, 2014

Mama and her Babies

Thriving In The Swamp

If you've been blessed to have Bald Cypress trees growing on your land, you have access to some of nature's more unique productions.

When we first obtained our Cypress swamp, I couldn't imagine anything beautiful coming from it. Since then, I have certainly changed my way of thinking.

Through the years, we have cut utv trails along the ridges of the swamp on our farm. They wind along and give us a spectacular view of wetlands that I have grown very fond of. A vacation for my husband and I is usually a day trip that includes our swamp where we shed the cares of the day and enjoy and appreciate God's earth and all the beauty it possesses.

Though there are many unique things and critters that exist there, the Bald Cypress trees in our swamp are the biggest performers. Many of them are approaching 100 years old and stand 90 to 120 feet tall. They've withstood a tremendous number of hurricanes.

Three years ago when loggers "accidentally" cut acres of our old growth timber, it was as if part of the family had died. Still, we're thankful for the trees that remain.

What's so striking about a Cypress is what grows beneath it. They are trees with knees. Protruding up from the ground out as far as the roots grow are what are known as Cypress knees. These are roots that grow upward. A large tree might be surrounded by hundreds of these odd looking projections.

The great thing about Cypress knees is their popularity among wood carvers. In times of financial depression, the sale of these little nuggets have given us an added source of income. Though they aren't the easiest wood to carve, the conical shape and swirled grain make for some lovely artwork. Even left natural after debarking makes for a beautiful and unique presentation piece. Like snowflakes, no two are ever alike. Where our knees grow, 36" is about the tallest we've seen.

Another fact that pleases us is the mother tree doesn't die when we harvest some of her "babies." New ones replace the old ones and we are careful never to over-harvest around the matriarch. As long as she lives, the little ones will continue to thrive and as long as we live, they'll play a big part in seeing that we do the same.


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    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 5 years ago

      I love cypress trees they are so unique in how they grow and their structure and I learned something new about them from your article, that there is a mother tree. So interesting.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Really neato. You are lucky to call the swamp home, and we are lucky that you do.

    • Gamerelated profile image

      Gamerelated 5 years ago from California

      This is very interesting and informative. I did not know this about Cypress Trees. I live in a part of Southern California where most people don't have very much land, so I don't get to see very many different trees except on TV and when I get to go on some vacations in the forest.