Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 52,400
Minimum purchase: 100 g
Spanish cedar has a wide
distribution, from Mexico to Bolivia and northern Argentina, and the Caribbean
islands. It can reach up to 30-40 m in height and 1-3 m in diameter (DBH).
Undoubtedly, its main product is its
precious wood of excellent quality. The sapwood is yellowish brown and the
heartwood beige pink to reddish brown. It is decorative, with a shiny surface,
aromatic smell and bitter taste that is used for light construction, interior
decoration, shipbuilding (covers and linings), fine furniture, musical
instruments, ci,ar boxes, carpentry and joinery in general. Due to the pleasant smell of its wood, it is used for jewelry and cigar boxes, cabinets, etc., in addition to being reported as resistant to termite attack.
It is a light demanding species,
found in tropical humid forest, humid subtropical forest and tropical dry
forest zones, at altitudes of 0-1200 masl, with mean annual rainfall of
1200-3000 mm with 0-6 dry months, and mean annual temperatures of 20-32ºC.
Seeds and nursery
The seed does not need pre-germination
treatments, but a more uniform germination is achieved by immersing the seed in
running water at room temperature for 24 hours before sowing. For the seedbed,
it is recommended to use a loose substrate such as river sand, well washed and
disinfected. The seed should be distributed evenly or in rows separated by 2
cm, and sown at a depth of 0.5-1 cm. Germination begins after 6-10 days and
ends after 30 days. The seedlings are transplanted when they reach 5-8 cm in
height and the first true leaves appear. The root is usually very long, so it
must be pruned to about 3 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 cavity. The plants will be ready for field planting after
3-4 months, when they have a height of 20-25 cm. A couple of weeks before
planting out in the field it is recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the
lignification of the stems.
In general, pure plantations with this species are
not recommended due to the attack of the shoot borer (Hypsipyla grandella). It should be mixed with other forest species
or at wide spacing within crops, for example in coffee, cacao or banana
plantations. It is also used as a shade tree and live fences. Due to the attack
of the shoot borer, an intensive program of pruning is required to try to
achieve a straight stem. In the absence of damage by the borer, and in good
conditions of site and light, mean annual growth during the first years of 1.3-1.6 m in height and 1.3-1.6 cm in diameter can be obtained. Trees that grow at wider spacing
in agroforestry systems (e.g. with coffee, cocoa, fruit trees, etc.) can show a
greater diameter increment (2-3 cm per year) and reach commercial sizes more
quickly. In plantations, rotations of 18-25 years are expected.
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