Mountain mohagany (Cercocarpus betuloides)

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Southern San Joaquin Valley, California
USDA Zone
8
yessir....it was connected underground to the dead tree you see to the right of it in the first photograph. In the second photograph, you can see some dead, dark colored wood at the base on the left side. This stuff, along with the dead tree that was connected to it, were plagued by termites. Its actually the first time I've seen termites here. Anyway, I'm thinking that they only infest dead wood but since there are portions of the trunk that are dead, I plan on looking for a preventative treatment.

it came out with a decent amount of roots, although i was hoping for even more. For this reason, I reduced foliage mass and took off flowers. The only thing I've found about collecting them just mentioned that they are prone to dying. Luckily, some recent rain has helped our normally dry air.


I also read that these are not "true Mahoganies" of the genus Swietenia, as they are in the genus Cercocarpus. People began calling them mohagany because the wood is heavy and sinks in water.

They are an evergreen shrub that normally looks like a bush, with an underground burl leading to many branches coming out of the soil. This was one of few that i saw that had a trunk to them. Some of them almost looked like a many African savannah with the Acacia? trees like in Lion King.

I am treating it like most other trees that i collect, but i was wondering if anyway grows these (even if not collected) and if they have any peculiarities or special needs that are not obvious.
 

oddirt

Yamadori
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Hayward, California
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I am treating it like most other trees that i collect, but i was wondering if anyway grows these (even if not collected) and if they have any peculiarities or special needs that are not obvious.
Awesome tree. They grow around these parts in the Diablo Range bordering the Bay Area. I haven't had the chance to collect one but have a number of C betuloides growing in my garden obtained from a native plant nursery. Hoping to dig one of them up some day. My observations from having killed a few saplings is that they don't want to go dry but don't like to be wet (when in our heavy clay soils in CA). I should have followed the usual rule for watering new plantings in the garden heavily and infrequently. As bonsai, a standard Boon mix should work to keep their roots airy but I'm just speculating--there are a few other threads on B'nut about this species that I've seen.
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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I've got a couple, but they're small and from a nursery, so I can't help. I am experimenting with care to make sure I can keep them alive, and all I can say is I haven't killed them in two years :)

They seem to grow in similar conditions here as manzanita. You won't see them below 3000 feet elevation, but at that point and above they are everywhere.
 

bonsaichile

Omono
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I have a curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) that I got from a nursery. The nursery owner was training it as a bonsai, so the trunk has some interesting movement. I have not done any root work on it yet (it is still in nursery soil) but last year I did a couple thread grafts and pruned it regularly. It responds relatively well to pruning. One thing: they fixate Nitrogen on the soil, so you do not need to feed it to it. I use a 0-10-10 to fertilize it, otherwise you'll get longer internodes and large leaves.
 
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Southern San Joaquin Valley, California
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It responds relatively well to pruning. One thing: they fixate Nitrogen on the soil, so you do not need to feed it to it. I use a 0-10-10 to fertilize it, otherwise you'll get longer internodes and large leaves.
Thank you, thats the type of info I was looking for. This one might have possibly been below the 3000 foot mark, but I can't say for certain. It was in the bio zone with grey pines, Buckeyes, and various oaks.

I tried searching bnut for cercocarpus before posting , but I'm still new to how this works so I probably missed it somehow. I noticed these grew mostly on the northern slopes where I was, so I positioned it where my house casts a shadow for large portions of the day, but it does catch some rays.
 

NaoTK

Sapling
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Yes! I have collected cercocarpus ledifolius in Eastern Oregon successfully. The tree was in a sandy river bed and was essentially bare rooted when I dug it up in October. I potted it up in 100% pumice. I kept it on a heat mat in my greenhouse all winter. By December I noticed new roots coming out the bottom. The tree kept its existing leaves all winter (that may be what it does in the wild) and earlier this month it started budding vigorously so I put it outside. Based on this success I will collect more this fall.
 
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Location
Southern San Joaquin Valley, California
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Yes! I have collected cercocarpus ledifolius in Eastern Oregon successfully. The tree was in a sandy river bed and was essentially bare rooted when I dug it up in October. I potted it up in 100% pumice. I kept it on a heat mat in my greenhouse all winter. By December I noticed new roots coming out the bottom. The tree kept its existing leaves all winter (that may be what it does in the wild) and earlier this month it started budding vigorously so I put it outside. Based on this success I will collect more this fall.
Nice. I read they are "evergreen shrubs". Did you reduce foliage at all? I was torn on whether or not to, but I did reduce some. I took off parts that had unhealthy looking leaves or that didnt send out new shoots like were seen elsewhere on it. I figured I didnt want it spending energy trying to repair/maintain these, and that they are phtosenthetically less efficient. In your greenhouse, how does it compare to full sun vs shade?
 

NaoTK

Sapling
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Nice. I read they are "evergreen shrubs". Did you reduce foliage at all? I was torn on whether or not to, but I did reduce some. I took off parts that had unhealthy looking leaves or that didnt send out new shoots like were seen elsewhere on it. I figured I didnt want it spending energy trying to repair/maintain these, and that they are phtosenthetically less efficient. In your greenhouse, how does it compare to full sun vs shade?
I did not reduce foliage, but it didnt have much to begin with either. As I understand there are many forms of this plant and mine is "var. intricatus" which has few, tiny leaves.
Over the winter it is almost always cloudy in the PNW, but the tree was in "full sun" in my greenhouse. Kept just above freezing.
 
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