Girdled Cypress

Feb 10, 2020

Credit K. Ouchley

On this place where we live and that we call Heartwood, Rocky Branch flows intermittently throughout the year. With the shallow water table beneath its watershed now depleted, the creek bed is often bone dry during the dog days of summer. On the other hand, the entire bottom may be inundated ten feet deep during naturally occurring, spring backwater floods. It is a tentacle of the D'Arbonne Swamp.

By any measure, legal or otherwise, the bottom is a wetland. The soil is saturated for much of the growing season and water-tolerant plants grew there historically. Some, like cypress trees, still do. However, in this species and on this site lies a troubling mystery.