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Phellodendron amurense 'Macho': 'Macho' Amur Corktree1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2

Introduction

Growing 30 to 40 feet tall with an equal spread, 'macho' amur corktree has a short, thick trunk and an open, rounded canopy which makes it ideal as a durable shade tree. It can be used as a street and parking lot planting because it is fruitless. The deciduous, dark green, pinnately compound leaflets change to bronze and yellow in the fall before dropping. The insignificant yellow/green flowers appear in late May to early June on 2- to 3.5-inch-long panicles. Fruits are not produced on this male selection of corktree. The species can naturalize as seeds readily germinate in the landscape, but this will not be a problem for this cultivar.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Phellodendron amurense 'Macho': 'Macho' Amur Corktree
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Phellodendron amurense 'Macho': 'Macho' Amur Corktree
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Phellodendron amurense
Pronunciation: fell-oh-DEN-drawn am-moor-EN-see
Common name(s): 'Macho' amur corktree, 'macho' Chinese corktree
Family: Rutaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 3B through 7B (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: shade; specimen; street without sidewalk; deck or patio; parking lot island < 100 sq ft; parking lot island 100-200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; sidewalk cutout (tree pit); tree lawn 3-4 feet wide; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; urban tolerant; highway median
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range

Description

Height: 30 to 40 feet
Spread: 30 to 40 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: upright/erect, vase, oval
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: entire, undulate
Leaf shape: ovate, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate, reticulate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: copper, yellow
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage

Flower

Flower color: white/cream/gray, green
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit covering: no fruit
Fruit color: no fruit
Fruit characteristics: no fruit

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: gray, brown
Current year twig thickness: thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; alkaline; well-drained; occasionally wet
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate

Other

Roots: can form large surface roots
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

The fruitless cultivar 'Macho' has thick, leathery leaves and a more pleasing, upright-spreading growth form. The attractive grey/brown bark is deeply ridged and furrowed, and on mature trees it takes on a corky texture. This cultivar should be planted instead of the species due to its less spreading and less drooping habit which is more suited for street tree planting. Pruning usually is not required once good branch structure is established early in the life of the tree. The shallow root system needs plenty of room to expand in order to establish the tree properly. Allow for adequate soil space for root development so they do not lift sidewalks and pavement. 'Shademaster' is also fruitless and available in the trade.

Amur corktree grows rapidly and prefers to be grown in full sun on deep, rich soil but will tolerate any soil, acid or alkaline. It tolerates wet soil and drought. Once highly recommended as a street and urban-tolerant tree, it does not appear to hold up to the rigors of city life under certain conditions, particularly restricted soil spaces (although the experts appear to disagree as to the tolerance of this tree to city life—the tree may be more sensitive to soil conditions than is commonly realized).

Propagation is by seed, which germinate readily.

Pests and Diseases

This tree is virtually pest-free.

Footnotes

1. This document is ENH-597, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-597

Date: 11/6/2014

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