My bald cypress is undergoing some major renovations, please excuse the mess.
This tree was harvested in 1996 from a local swamp. I'd been in bonsai for less than 2 years at this point and didn't understand anything. Due to a styling error, I nearly lost the entire tree in 1999. The large gash is due to significant die-back. The tree is hollow. It is very vigorous, but it's been kind of an ugly duckling until I recently got some advice which has put the final design firmly in my head. The large cut on the side has improved the design greatly, but will take about 3 years to heal over.
The front of the tree is now a wide gash. At the base of the gash is an enigma. When the die-back event took place, it left behind two dead lines which ran down to the base of the tree. In between these two dead areas is living tissue. As you can see in the photo above, it goes up about 1/3 of the main part of the tree. Above this point there is nothing. There is nothing behind this section. The only thing connecting this part of the tree to the rest of the tree is two strips of deadwood on the left and right.
I potted the tree in Spring 2010. I combed out the roots and noted that this part of the tree has no roots in common with the rest of the tree. Since the original die-back event, no branches, leaves, or anything green has come out of this area. I figured it would eventually die and and rot off.
Yet each year it expands! It is rolling over the deadwood as if to join with the rest of the tree. I recently cleaned up the bark and deadwood with a brass brush. The handle of the brush nicked the upper right portion of the bark. You can see the discoloration in the photo. Beneath the injury was living tissue; it is moist in there, but it is not green.
I fertilize all my bald cypress once a month with Miracle Grow Liquafeed. I do this to the soil as well as foliar. In the Spring, I sprinkle some Mexican bat guano over the soil as the bud leaf out. Over the years I've used fish-emulsion, Bio-Gold, Carl Pool 13-13-13, and nuggets and chunks of un-named things that smelled of ammonia.
Up until last year, this tree was in a mason tub with it's roots submerged. So much water, in fact, that it often shared the tub with tadpoles. In the absence of green foliage, I thought the submersion may be the reason for it being alive THEN. What I don't know is: What's keeping it alive NOW?