Khaya senegalensis (African mahogany)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 2,500
Minimum purchase: 250 g
African mahogany can reach 15-30 m
in height, most commonly up to 24 m, and a diameter (DBH) of up to 1 meter. It is
attacked by the shoot borer Hypsipyla
robusta, but it seems to be resistant to H. grandella, the species present in the American continent.
The species is used in pure
plantations, boundaries, agroforestry systems and in enrichment rows, the
latter at spacings of 5 x 20 m. The wood has a reddish pigmentation, very
attractive, so it is used in fine furniture, construction of boats, floors and
panels, among many other uses.
It grows at altitudes of 0-1800 masl,
with mean annual temperatures of 22-31ºC, mean annual rainfall of 700 to 3000
mm per year, and a dry season of 2 to 8 months.
It tolerates lateritic soils but
may grow poorly in superficial soils; deep, fertile loam soils with a neutral
pH are recommended for commercial plantations.
Seeds and nursery
As a pre-germination treatment it
is recommended to soak the seed in running water at room temperature for 24
hours. For the seedbed, a loose substrate such as river sand should be used,
well washed and disinfected. The seed should be distributed evenly or in rows
7-10 cm apart, sowing superficially (2 mm). Germination begins after 10 - 18
days and transplanting is done when the seedlings have reached 3 to 5 cm in
height and the first true leaves appear. The root is usually very long, so it
must be pruned to about 3-4 cm in length. When transplanting, be sure to make a
hole deep enough in the substrate to avoid curving up of the roots. Shade
should be provided for the first 2-3 weeks after transplanting, for instance
using shade clothing (saran) 50%. With seeds of good germination it is possible
to sow directly in the containers, placing 1-2 seeds per hole. The plants will
be ready for field planting after 3 - 4 months in the nursery, when they have a
height of 15 to 20 cm. A couple of weeks before planting out in the field it is
recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the lignification of the stems.
African mahogany is a relatively slow
growing species, with increments close to 1 m in height and 1 cm in diameter
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