Growing cocobolo rosewood trees

growing cocobolo rosewood trees

Our cocobolo is reseeding!

To the left is one of many Cocobolo ( a rosewood variety) trees that Sarah and I planted 18 years ago. What is really cool is the little guy to the right – a baby Cocobolo!

Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) takes a while to put up a main trunk. This still hasn’t done much, maybe 8 inches you can’t see. Mature trees get over 30 inches DBH (diameter breast height), and I’ve seen some 4 foot wide at the base. I’ve heard of them around 5 foot wide, but all turned out to be hollow! When I’d buy a load, I had to buy the branches as well, which is how I got into the thicker spalted shapes, to use that stuff up.

Cutting up the wood on our large locally made band saw, you often find small stingless bees and dark honey.
The big trees on accessible private land are mostly gone, but in the dry forest parks it’s often the dominant species.

growing cocobolo rosewood trees

Cocobolo rosewood logs sprouting

Not only will big cocobolo logs sprout, but if you dig up a cocobolo tree and move it, it will keep sprouting from the old location for several years. When we built our new store in Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica, the earth moving equipment bumped into our cocobolo tree. Other trees might have died; the cocobolo tree bled red sap and recovered completely. Our friend Tommy has some cocobolo trees on The Ark Herb Farm in Heredia. A backhoe ran over his tree by accident, but the tree bounced back up and grew fine.

Seeds are fairly easy to sprout and have a good germination rate. The growth habit is somewhat bushy and the branches do not tend to grow straight.
Barry Biesanz Google+

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  1. abby
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    i’m trying my best to get my hands on some dalbergia retusa seeds togerminate some trees of my own.
    the last time i saw any of those seeds online i bought them and only one germinated………… and eventually my friend thought the seedling was a weed and rooted it out of its pot. the end.
    any idea how i can get some fresh seeds?

  2. Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Hi abby, just saw your note! where do you live or intend to plant these?

  3. Tony Pierantozzi
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    i live in florida in th usa. i am trying to find some seeds for the cocobolo tree, dalbergia retusa.
    i already have had great success with mahogany, koa, cypress and have others to start in 2012 season.
    thanks for any info, always looking for knowledge, Tony P.

  4. Ponchit ponce enrile
    Posted December 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I am from the Philippines and looking for even a few cocobolo seeds…..please help

  5. Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    radico en cancun, ando buscando semillas de cocobolo
    sera que alguien tenga algunas que me pudiera vender