Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Citrus Planting, Landscape Insurance, Bark Damage & Baldcypress Advice


Louisiana Home Citrus Production, a handy reference for gardeners.
Photo: LSU AgCenter.


Chris Dunaway, Anna Timmerman & Dr. Joe Willis teach the Home Citrus course online.
Photo: LSU AgCenter.

Citrus Planting

Buddy sent an email to ask about establishing a citrus orchard. The timing of his question is good because we are in the cool season which is ideal for planting citrus and other trees. Buddy specifically asked, “Is there a good quality satsuma tree that won’t freeze in our area that you could recommend? Maybe there are several different citrus trees that can tolerate our weather here in Deridder.”

The AgCenter has a handy reference publication for gardeners entitled, “Louisiana Home Citrus Production” and it is a free and downloadable. Page 2 of this publication describes the citrus varieties that perform well in Louisiana. The specific answers to Buddy’s question are Owari satsuma, Armstrong Early satsuma, Brown’s Select satsuma, Kimbrough satsuma, and Louisiana Early and Early St. Ann satsuma.

In addition to this publication, the AgCenter has a “Home Citrus Course”, a free online program with videos by horticulture specialists and agents. If you search for “AgCenter + home citrus”, then you will probably find the website to enable you to use this site.


Evangeline Oak of St. Martinsville.
Photo: Bill Guion,

Landscape Insurance

Mr. Stuart Gauthier, an Area Horticulture Agent in St. Martin Parish, sent a question, “I had a call from a homeowner in Broussard inquiring about the benefits of registering a live oak [with the Live Oak Society]. The arborist pruning the tree indicated that [the homeowner] might have an insurance benefit. For example, if the tree was damaged from a storm that the insurance company might be more likely to pay for a registered tree. Do you know any economic benefits of registering a live oak?”

The benefit of registering a live oak with the Live Oak Society is mainly pride of ownership of a specimen tree. An indirect benefit of registration may be enabling preservation if a specimen tree is threatened by development.

According to Mr. Chris Moon, a writer specializing in consumer insurance policies, writes that the best way to protect a homeowner from the loss of specimen trees and other landscape due to storm damage is through a homeowner’s policy with an insurance company. Insurance companies will compensate homeowners for losses due to a “covered peril” such as:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Aircraft
  • Theft or vandalism

Loss of landscape due to flood is covered by a separate flood policy. Also, check with your insurance company to see how much your specimen trees and landscape are covered.


A baldcypress tree with damage.
Photo: Mike Corry, Calcasieu Parish.

Bark Damage

Mike has concerns about his cypress trees, “I live in Calcasieu Parish, and I have noticed some damage to several of my cypress trees. Could this be caused by the hurricane we had, or do you think I have some other problem? Thanks for any advice.”

Dr. Raj Singh, “The Plant Doctor” with the AgCenter, examined Mike’s images and shared this comment, “In this case, I think the tree suffered some sort of physical or mechanical damage. The brown rough raised area is callus formed around the injury….”


Baldcypress, a Louisiana Super Plant, in the landscape.
Photo: Ashley Edwards, LSU AgCenter.

Baldcypress Advice

Tracy also had a question about landscaping with baldcypress, “We purchased a wooded lot on Kincaid [Lake] and recently had it cleared up to the shoreline. There were several cypress trees at the shoreline that I did not want to be torn down to maintain the Louisiana look. We have cleared by hand (painstakingly), and it is beautiful. We have approximately 125 foot of shoreline and probably 30 cypress trees. I would like to use this shoreline as a place to put a dock and recreation area but do not know how to landscape around the trees due to the cypress knees that would be a fall hazard. I do not want to cut the cypress knees down and I considered river rock. Do you have any ideas?”

Dr. Sara Shields, a horticulture specialist, shared her design concepts, “My recommendation for Tracy would be to place a mulch of some sort – dried cypress leaves, a bark mulch, she could use some river rock or something like cover. Depending on how plentiful the knees are, the biggest issue with tripping would be those that are smaller and not easily seen. The larger ones could be walked around. If that’s the case, a thick layer of mulch would put some distance between the smaller knees and the walking surface. She might consider creating a rock pathway down to the dock and using mulch in other areas, which would clearly delineate a safe walking path.

If she really wants to create a landscape in that area, she could bring in some soil and create a bed in and amongst the bald cypress trees. Covering the small knees won’t be an issue, but it may cause those knees to continue growing taller to allow for the specialized roots to create an exchange for gases. Planting small – medium sized Louisiana natives would be nice – I’m thinking swamp hibiscus, native grasses, sea oats, Louisiana irises, southern swamp lily (Crinum sp.), and possibly some rushes. Doing so would maintain the “Louisiana look” and achieve the desired look of a more landscaped area.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 318-264-2448 or Also, please share the name of your parish.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

1/20/2022 9:20:40 PM
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