Recently the question about bug transfer from mulch from hurricane regions came up. I thought you would like to know that here in central Iowa, I have seen at least a dozen stores selling cypress mulch. Last time I checked, we were lacking in cypress here in Iowa. I'm not concerned about the bugs in the bags because they have been sitting in the sun for sometime, so if there was anything in them, I'm sure it's cooked by now, but what I would like to know is, will this cypress on the ground here attract unwanted pests, such as termites? And is cypress even a good mulch, or should I stick with the tried and true cedar?
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
Cypress mulch is made from bald or pond cypress that was harvested for the sole purpose of making mulch. It is not a good choice for mulch because of the devastation to the swamps and wetlands where it was harvested. Most times, it is a clear cut process leaving nothing but stumps.
The best mulch is recycled mulch from power line cleanups which is usually free. I prefer to use pine straw, since it is both a renewable resource and in most cases, it is inexpensive or you can rake it up and it is free.
I have used power line mulch and it lasts for a season and is rotted the next, depending on the species. Great if you want to make compost. I have also seen harvester ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, termites and all sorts of other insects delivered in loads of the stuff.
Here is a paragraph from Iowa State Hort. Dept.:
"Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer. Native to swamps in the southeastern United States, it does surprisingly well in the north. In Iowa, it performs best in the southern portion of the state. The foliage is an attractive yellow-green in the spring and turns to russet in the fall. The bald cypress possesses a pyramidal growth habit and may eventually reach a height of 50 feet."
Dr. Gene, does cypress wood (or other wetland trees such as green ash and pin oak) exhibit similar characteristics of other tree species that are sometimes found in bottom lands? As an example, I understand that a red oak that grows in a bottom land environment will show larger growth rings, and less dense wood structure vs. a red oak that grows in a drier upland landscape. Do the cypress and other wet tolerant species across the board have the same less dense, weaker structured wood as an oak found in a bottomland hardwood local?