Have you see Monty the magnificent Montezuma?
The Montezuma Bald Cypress was declared a state champion during the November 16th Arbor day Celebration and is the largest known example of the species in the state of Louisiana. Currently, the tree stands at 60 feet, has a circumference of 16 feet, and its branches spread 80 feet. UL Lafayette’s sole Montezuma bald cypress was added to the Louisiana Forestry Association’s Directory of Champions in 2018. The association judges native and naturalized trees on their height, circumference and crown spread to determine which make the championship cut. Unlike the bald cypress, the Montezuma cypress is evergreen and does not produce knees above its root system.
This state Champion tree is located behind Billeaud Hall, next to the maintenance building and parking lot. In 2018 the University removed four parking spots alleviate the pressure of concrete on its root system, and enable the cypress to receive more water, oxygen and nutrients to improve its long-term viability. Since 2018 you can see the roots have already started to expand out into the space where the concrete once was. The Univeresity plans to build a deck with seating around the tree’s base to celebrate this magnificent tree and create a nice outdoor seating area.
UL Lafayette is a proud Tree Campus USA university and we encourage everyone to check out this magnificent tree when you are around Billeaud Hall.
Over 40 students, faculty, and staff gather around the Montezuma at the Arbor Day Celebration.
(Credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)