Harvesting a Dead Manzanita Shrub - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Harvesting a Dead Manzanita Shrub

This summer one of my manzanita shrubs started to die a bit. Just recently it was clear it would not make it, so I decided it was time to remove it. If this was 3 months ago, I would have just cut it to the ground and taken an axe to the stump. However, I now realize the value of manzanita wood in aquariums, mostly after having stumbled across rez's thread:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sw...od-lowerd.html

Here's a picture after I've removed all the small growth. That's a yard stick in the middle, so it is nearly 4' tall and about 9' wide.



I have some questions on how to proceed.
  • I know this stump will be very hard to remove, since I've removed other shrubs of similar size before. Usually I remove all the branches first, and then hack away at the stump with an axe, and it's still difficult. Obviously this would not be a good approach for preserving the wood. I was thinking of pruning the branches to maybe 12" wide (12" in each direction) and 18" high (in the middle), and also removing the lower branches that run along the dirt. This would give me much better access for digging up the stump, and produce quite a few long branches to be used separately.
  • What type of curing is needed? Some of this wood is still a bit green. Do I just let it bake in the hot summer sun for a while? Is just getting it dry enough, or is there some extended curing process it needs to go through?
  • What type of cleaning is needed. I read one site that said they sand blasted all their wood. I can't do this, but I could use a pressure washer. That would probably strip off the thin layer of red bark and any mold.
  • Are the roots useful? I'm not sure if I should be trying to preserve the area just below the trunk or not?
thanks,

Chris
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 01:36 AM
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Wow, very cool! I didn't realize manzanita was a shrub, or where it even came from for that matter.

I would cut back the branches to about 18" from the ground. Then take a spade and cut around the tree in a 18" - 24" diameter and then carfully dig out the stump. Will take some work...use a sharp spade and you'll probably need an axe and a pruning lopers.

I'm not expert, but I would think the roots could be used too.

I wouldn't think you would need to clean the wood with much. Unless its been sprayed with pesticides a lot or gets spray from some other chemicals it should be just fine. Let it bake in the sun to dry out for a few months and I think you should be good.

Let us know how it works out!

If I lived in CA I would grow a nursery of these plants just to sell for aquariums! Sounds like a business opportunity
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 01:46 AM
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I would start by pruning off the small twig like branches, Just cut off branches untill you start hitting things 3/4 - 1" in thickness, leave these alone.
Save everything you clip off, those little tiny things are usefull for nanos

Generally I think you'd want to just cut where it attaches to a larger branch.

Then just start cutting branches off the main branches untill you're left with the thickest branches, Then cut these off from the trunk, leave as many inches as possible above the ground.
And you'll definately want to save the roots and trunk, When dug up, they look really, really cool. To me anyway.
After that, you'll probably just want to let them die off and bake over the summer. I'm not entirely sure what kind of curing or ageing it needs to go through, but I'm pretty sure you don't want green wood.
I would atleast wait until the red bark could be easily stripped off.
Worry about cleaning after you've let them bake

Would you happen to have a larger version of that picture? I could mark off where I would cut if you'd like.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Would you happen to have a larger version of that picture? I could mark off where I would cut if you'd like.
Yes, I have much larger version, about 5mb. Where/how should I post them? PT doesn't give me enough disk space for even one of these full sized pictures.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:10 AM
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Yes, I have much larger version, about 5mb. Where/how should I post them? PT doesn't give me enough disk space for even one of these full sized pictures.
If you don't mind registering for somthing really fast, you can upload them to http://www.photobucket.com/

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:15 AM
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If I lived in CA I would grow a nursery of these plants just to sell for aquariums! Sounds like a business opportunity
that stuff is EVERYWHERE around here. lol there's over 40 acres of it growing right behind my house...
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:25 AM
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that stuff is EVERYWHERE around here. lol there's over 40 acres of it growing right behind my house...
Well you are very fortunate!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:28 AM
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that stuff is EVERYWHERE around here. lol there's over 40 acres of it growing right behind my house...
x2...I've never cut green wood or really know how long it would take to cure/dry out, but I'm guessing quite a few months. I would just try to cut out the more interesting sections of branches and pile them up somewhere till next summer or so.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:31 AM
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i think it is native to CA, went looking, never found any here tho, too hot probabvly in summer
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 02:34 AM
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i think it is native to CA, went looking, never found any here tho, too hot probabvly in summer

what? too hot? it gets 100+ all summer here. i don't think it likes the coastal climate there. lol you're close to the bay area right?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Manzanita is native to California, growing in hilly areas like the coastal mountains and the sierra foothills. It like's very hot and dry weather for part of the year. Most areas it grows in see little or no rain from May until October.

It is slow growing, so probably hard to grow as a crop. The plant I posted the pic for is 16 years old. I'm not sure how big it was when it went in. I've only been in this house for 8 years, but have landscape plans showing it went in in '92.

There are many varieties of manzanita, including small trees. The variety I have is called Manzanita ‘Howard McMinn’.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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If you don't mind registering for somthing really fast, you can upload them to http://www.photobucket.com/
http://s376.photobucket.com/albums/o...anzanita-1.jpg
http://s376.photobucket.com/albums/o...anzanita-2.jpg

It would probably be better if I used shots from a lower angle. I'll try to do that tomorrow.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 04:06 AM
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what? too hot? it gets 100+ all summer here. i don't think it likes the coastal climate there. lol you're close to the bay area right?
thats probably it, but it also grows everywhere along the coast, i've seen it everywhere beside teh freeways when we went to collect, but we couldnt stop because there was no place :/
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 04:55 AM
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http://s376.photobucket.com/albums/o...anzanita-1.jpg
http://s376.photobucket.com/albums/o...anzanita-2.jpg

It would probably be better if I used shots from a lower angle. I'll try to do that tomorrow.
this probably wont help much, but red lines are where I would cut off stuff from the trunk, blue is other obvious cuts I would do. hopefully it'll give you some idea of what I'm talking about

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...zanitacut1.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...zanitacut2.jpg

start from the smallest branches and just work your way in, saves you alot of having to untangle the small little buggers later.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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this probably wont help much, but red lines are where I would cut off stuff from the trunk, blue is other obvious cuts I would do. hopefully it'll give you some idea of what I'm talking about

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...zanitacut1.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...zanitacut2.jpg

start from the smallest branches and just work your way in, saves you alot of having to untangle the small little buggers later.
Thanks for the tips. I like the idea of the red cuts. However, I think I'll do them first. Tangling doesn't look like it will be a problem, and it will be easier to decide on the blue cuts when the branches are separated more. Plus I can just leave those cuts until I'm done drying and cleaning, so there'll be fewer pieces to lug around.
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