Swietenia humilis (Pacific Coast mahogany)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 1,370
Minimum purchase: 250 g
S. humilis occurs naturally on
the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America. Trees can reach heights of
15-20 m and diameters (DBH) of 30-80 cm, with irregular crown.
The wood is of great beauty and it is
used for construction, floors, decorative panels, exterior plywood, sculptures,
crafts and fine furniture. The sapwood is yellowish brown and the heartwood is reddish
brown. It has great brightness, medium texture and straight grain. It easy to
work and polish. It is resistant to decay and insect attacks and it does not
require chemical preservatives.
It is normally found in dry and dry
premontane forest, at altitudes of 0-1000 masl, with mean temperatures of
18-25ºC, mean annual rainfall of 800 to 2000 mm and a dry season of 5-7 months.
It can tolerate different soil
types, from fertile to infertile limestone.
Seeds and nursery
Fresh seeds germinate well without
pre-treatments, but if it has been stored for some time, it is recommended to soak
the seed in running water at room temperature for 12 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 5 cm apart, sowing at a depth
of about 3 cm, with the wing side upwards. Germination begins after 10 - 21
days and transplanting is done when the seedlings have reached 5 - 10 cm in
height and the first true leaves appear. The root is usually very long, so it
must be pruned to about 5 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. 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.
S. humilis is relatively slow
growing, with annual increments of 1-1.3 m in height and 1.5 cm in diameter. Due
to the attack of the shoot borer (Hypsipyla
grandella), it is not recommended for pure plantations, but in mixtures
with other forest or agricultural species, in enrichment lines (3x10) or in
boundaries. An intensive pruning scheme is required to try to achieve trees
with a straight stem.
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