Q: My cypress tree has little growths along the twigs; what are they?
A: Cypress trees (Taxodium species) are some of the most iconic deciduous conifers throughout southern coastal regions, growing in both swampy and drier locations along riverbanks. They are a staple of coastal barrier islands to protect inland areas against storm surges. Did you know the largest and oldest living tree in Mexico is a Montezuma bald cypress (Taxodium huegelii)?
Cypress trees sometimes become the host to tiny insects that lay eggs on the needles. When that happens, the plant tissue becomes irritated and a growth called a “gall” surrounds the eggs to provide a nursery for the emerging insects. The cypress flower gall midge creates galls that look like little blossoms while the cypress twig gall midge creates tiny pine cone shapes. These galls may be unsightly, but do not harm the plant and will drop when the needles fall.
Cypress trees are beautiful landscape accents with needles that turn golden in the fall before dropping, then surprise us with a bright green flush of new needles each spring. Cypress knees, which sometimes grow around the base of the tree, may still be a mystery and can cause frustration to a homeowner. However, they add to the mystique of this specimen