Date of this Version
Logging of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) in the swamps of the southeastern United States is once again becoming common and an area of particular concern in Louisiana is the regeneration of cypress in its natural environment. One way to ensure the proper stocking of cypress is to plant seedlings, but nutria usually damage or destroy newly planted seedlings and are a deterrent to cypress regeneration in flooded areas. In 1985 cypress seedlings were planted in a flooded logged area and in an area where flooding was preventing the establishment of natural seedlings. Nutria destroyed 86% of the seedlings in the Barataria watershed (logged area) and 100% in the Lake Verret watershed. One-half of the Barataria seedlings were protected with "Vexar" seedling protectors, but these were no deterrent to nutria. A second planting was made in the Lake Verret basin and the seedlings surrounded by chicken wire fencing. Nutria did no damage to the protected seedlings. A third planting was made in the Lake Verret area in September 1985 to determine if nutria would destroy late planted seedlings. Once again no nutria damage was observed. Implications are that spring-planted seedlings need protection to allow them to establish a root system making them more difficult for the nutria to pull up. Fall-planted seedlings appear to be less susceptible to damage because of the abundant food supply provided by aquatic plants that grow during the summer and fall. Once firmly established, cypress seedlings are less susceptible to nutria damage.