Gliricidia sepium (madero negro, quick stick)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 5,950
Minimum purchase: 100 g
G. sepium is distributed from Mexico to
Costa Rica. It is a small to medium-sized tree, 2-15 m tall (occasionally up to
20 m) and 5-30 cm in diameter (DBH), often with multiple stems.
It is one of the most common and
best known trees in Central America, and truly of multiple uses, which includes
wood, erosion control, forage, tutor for crops and living fences. Its ability
to tolerate and improve very poor and degraded soils also makes it suitable for
the restoration of contaminated and highly disturbed industrial land. Because
of its shape, it rarely produces large timber, but it is very hard and quite
heavy (0.5-0.8), good luster and resistant to termites and rot fungi. The wood
of old trees is excellent as firewood.
It is an aggressive pioneer
species, well adapted to humid to sub-humid climates, at altitudes of 0-1200
masl. It is a main component of areas that follow slash and burn agriculture,
probably due to its tolerance to fire (after a fire it sprouts vigorously when
the rainy season starts).
It adapts to a wide range of soils,
including moderately acid, infertile and degraded sites. It also tolerates
salty winds and coastal dunes, but not saline soils.
Seeds and nursery
It does not require pre-germination
treatments, although if the seed has been stored for more than a year, it is
recommended to soak it in running water at room temperature for 24 hours. For the
seedbed it is recommended to use a loose substrate such as river sand, well
washed and disinfected. Germination begins after 3-4 days and it is completed after
12-15 days. Transplanting is done when the plants reach 3 to 5 cm 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
containers, placing 2 seed per hole. Seedlings require 10-12 weeks in the
nursery, and can also be easily reproduced by pseudo-cuttings and large stakes,
1-2 m long. Seedlings in containers should be taken to the field when they reach
30-40 cm. If they are much larger, they should be pruned to a height of 10 cm
before planting. A couple of weeks before planting out in the field it is
recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the lignification of the stems.
Under average conditions, a
forage bank usually yields 3-4 kg of leaves / tree / harvest, equivalent to
9-16 tm of dry matter / ha / year or 43 tm of fresh leaves / ha / year. Forage
banks in wet zones can be cut as often as every 8 weeks. In the case of firewood,
a plantation established at 2 x 2 m (2,500 trees / ha) cut to 10-20 cm in a cutting cycle of 3
years gave an annual return of 2.0-2.3 tm of dry wood / ha.
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