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Some Evergreens Are Not

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Even though this time of year is all about evergreens, I’m happy to see some trees that seem evergreen going bald. There are only a few such ‘deciduous conifers’ as they’re called – trees that are rather Christmas tree-shaped but instead of staying evergreen, the needles turn red-brown in the fall and drop off.

One, Taxodium distichum, also called Bald Cypress, is native to the US and easy to grow in wet areas or very dry spots, which is where mine is, growing over a foot each year. They can get to be over 100 feet high, and live hundreds of years!

Why would you want an “evergreen” that isn’t? One really good reason is Bald Cypress trees don’t get weighted down with snow and ice and easily break like so many evergreens can do in winter. Without needles to collect the flakes, the snow just falls around their pretty bare branches.

In spring, fresh needles sprout that are a bright baby-grass green color that darkens to a deeper green while the tree gives great summer shade. Then, when they drop in autumn, the needles give off a wonderful cedary scent.