Its Ornamental Character, Southern Home, and Dispersed Growth.— Soil Suited to its Growth, and Attainable Height.—Peculiarities of its Growth.—Its Associate Tree.—Description and Properties of its Wood.—Its Usefulness and Indifference to Climatic Influences.— White and Black Cypresses.—Value of the Cypress.—Its Seed.— Manner of Sowing and Cultivating.
This ornamental tree properly belongs to the Southern States, but is found scattered all over the eastern and extreme western sections of our country, also in the more fertile parts of the Mississippi valley. It grows in swamps or wet, moist soil, and reaches to the height of one hundred and thirty feet, and is destitute of branches for a great portion of its height, with a slightly flattened top. In the bayous of Mississippi and Louisiana we find the cypress and the tupelo growing in about four feet of water, with trunks so thickly interlaced that it is impossible to swing an axe with any kind of effect among them; the water from these bayous is the color of brandy, from the roots of the cypress. The wood is fighter and less resinous than that of the pines, is much finer grained and more elastic, and when first cut it is white, but on exposure to the air turns of a light, reddish color; it also stands the changes of climate very well, and wet or dry weather does not seem to affect it in the slightest degree. It is used for posts, shingles, hogsheads, casks, etc.; many of these articles lasting a lifetime. The cypresses that grow surrounded by water are called white cypresses, and those that grow in dryer land are called black cypresses.
The cypress, if carefully cultivated, would be of inestimable value. It will grow as far north as St. Louis. As an ornamental tree, it is much esteemed on account of its light, graceful foliage. It is very easy to raise either from the seed or from slips. If raised from seed the young plants should be kept covered and shielded from the sun. Transplant the cypress while small, as the taproot strikes very deep wherever the soil will permit it. To obtain the seed, store the cones in a dry place and raise the seed that falls from the cone only; those that remain in the cone rarely, if ever, germinate.