Switenia macrophylla - Mahogany

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It is an evergreen tree attaining a height of about 30-40 m and a diameter of about 3-4 m within a span of 30-35 years. This is an exotic species with bark peeling feature. Abundant growth occurs in places with average annual rainfall of 1500-5000 mm and in fertile laterite soil.


Artificial propagation

Easiest method of propagation is by using seeds.Seeds are obtained by drying the collected pods. Viability lasts for only up to 7 months. Seeds are placed in small pits at a distance of 7.0 cm x 7.5 cm or 10 x 10 cm.

 

Germination starts within 2 weeks. Seedlings of height of 30cm, 2cm diameter with about 20 leaves are transferred to pits in the field. Direct sowing is found to be successful. Seedlings can also be transplanted in polythene bags. Polybaged seedlings having a height of 30cm with 20 leaves are found to be better planting materials in the main field.


Natural regeneration
By the germination of fallen seeds. Removal of shade is essential for its germination.

 

Planting and management

Poly bagged seedlings are the best planting materials in the main field. Planting is done in pits of 35cm cube filled with top soil and 10 kg of FYM. Pits are taken with the onset of monsoon and planting is done during June-July. Unlike other species slightly wider spacing of 3m x 3m is given in the main field. Though the trees are evergreen in nature, leaf fall occurs during the months of February, March. Red coloured young leaves appear to develop at about the beginning of April-May months. Pod maturation occurs in a year. The tree is somewhat shade tolerant. Extreme shade is detrimental. Frost sensitive. Can be cultivated as a mixed crop in teak plantations. Fertilization at the rate of 30-50 g N, 40-50 g P2O5, 50-70g K2O along with 20-30 kg FYM per plant depending on size is good from second year onwards.

 

Plant protection

Fungi like Botryodiplodia theobromae and Coletotrichum gloeosporioides produce leaf spot disease. This can be controlled by spraying carbendazim 0.05 per cent .The stem borer, Hypsophylla robusta is also found to infect the tree. Cultivating mahagony in blocks, along with cashew tree will prevent the attack of stem borers.


Timber
One cubic meter of timber with annual rings weighs about 560 kg and is of light reddish in colour. The wood is durable, attractive and has high demand in the market.


Uses

Wood is used for making furniture and oil from seed is used in soap industry. It is one of the best materials for staining and design works.

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