A Tree does not grow at Post 227

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Lawson cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Story and photos by Doug Cerretti

The Starr Sutherland, Jr Post 227 of The American Legion occupied its current facility in 1992. The building was originally built in 1951 and soon after, a Lawson cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) was planted which grew to a very large beautiful two-trunked tree.

The dead half was removed, but the remaining half only lasted for another year

Lawson cypress or Port Orford cedar, as it is known in its native range and by foresters, is restricted in nature to a narrow strip of the Oregon-California coast and to the mountains of northern California. It was once an important timber tree for the region.

The entire tree had to be removed

The greatest concentration of cultivated Lawson cypress is in the maritime Pacific Northwest, in and around Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver. Here, Lawsons were used during the housing boom following World War II, most planted as hedges or in the “buns-and-rockets” style of foundation planting common to residential front yards of the fifties and sixties.

Nothing could be done to save the tree from cypress root rot

As you can see from the picture, we had a severe problem with our Lawson cypress; half of it was dead. The culprit was a soil-borne disease called cypress root rot caused by a species of Phytophthora, a genus of common fungus-like organisms that are part of a larger group of plant pathogens known as water molds. Interestingly, this cypress root rot was first recorded on planting stocks of Lawson cypress in Seattle in 1923.

Half of our bifurcated tree was dying but an arborist suggested that the other half may last several years but it to would eventually succumb to the root rot. There was nothing we could do to save the tree.

Site for a flagpole

Thus, we removed the dead half last year. Unfortunately, we had only a year for the other half before the root rot took over and we had to remove the cypress completely. We would normally replace it with another tree but instead it is a perfect location for a much needed flag pole to display the American Flag.

Starr Sutherland, Jr Post 227

The Starr Sutherland, Jr Post 227 (14521 17th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155) of The American Legion meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm. Veterans, members or not are welcome along with family, friends and the community.


Anonymous,  July 23, 2023 at 12:28 PM  

Thanks for this article

Anonymous,  July 23, 2023 at 4:01 PM  

When was the rest/entire part of the tree cut down? I thought I remember seeing a tree there not too long ago.

Anonymous,  July 25, 2023 at 8:00 AM  

Great story and information on the tree and good photos too!

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