Friday, May 09, 2008
My mahogany trees, continued
Sorry, I guess it's time to return to that mahogany tree that the birds killed. What you see in the image isn't a big log. It's one of those mahogany trees I planted in 2001, across from the main entrance to Bosque Santa Lucia. I cut it because it had been killed by a parasitic plant that the birds spread around via their feces. The fruit of the plant is one of their favorite foods and I can truthfully say that there's hardly a tree around the open areas of the Bosque not infested with it. The seeds lock into the bark of trees and anything else it hits like a rivet. In no time at all a good looking parasitic vine is sucking up the nutrients of the host and smothering and shading out the host at the same time. The trick is keep pulling the vines off before they begin do damage. In the case of the mahogany, we let it stay on too long. This was the first mahogany tree, and the last, to be cut. What really surprised me was the quality of the wood for such a small tree. Most species at this age would be present only sapwood, not heartwood. I'm not a forestry engineer, but it seems to me that there is a lot of usable lumber in this log of only 8 inches or so. I've read about mahogany trees being harvested at only 15-20 years of age. Now I believe it. Next, the parasitic plant.