Mahogany Tree Diseases

Written by jorina fontelera
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Mahogany trees can grow up to 75 feet high and its roots can spread 50 feet. It is a dense, strong wood that is quite resistant to wind damage. It is also quite resistant to disease. Only two diseases are of concern to the mahogany but they are not grave dangers. This strong wood is used for carving, flooring, furniture, handles, musical instruments, marine applications and many more.

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Mahogany trees can get cankers due to stress or injury. These cankers lead to progressive necrosis of cambial and bark tissues, which can be seen in the branch crotches. They also can appear on stems and twigs. Affected areas will look flattened along otherwise rounded stems. The infected areas may also develop callus tissues from the fungus nectria gliigena. Pruning or removing of the dead branches should reduce the amount of cankers and diminish spread.

Tar Spots

Tar spots are hard, black, raised or crusty growths found on the surface of the leaves of an infected mahogany trees. These tar spots are caused by the fungus phyllachora swieteniae. This disease does not cause long-term damage to the mahogany tree and can be treated by burning the fallen affected leaves to stop reproduction or by applying fungicide.

Other Diseases

Aside from tar spots and cankers, mahogany trees are very much affected by other diseases. Pests such as the mahogany web worm (Macalla thyrsisalis) can make the tree more prone to disease, however, by causing defoliation, webbing and stress. In certain places like Puerto Rico, leaf blight (Phyllosticta swietenia fungus) caused by humid nursery conditions may affect mahogany trees and cause defoliation. Diseases of seedling nurseries in Haiti have been known to cause leaf spot, anthracnose, leaf blister, damping off and stem blight.

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