Decay of birdseye sugar maple (acer saccharum) and curly red maple (acer rubrum) figured woods

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Two figured woods, commonly known as birdseye maple (Acer saccharum, sugar maple) and curly maple (Acer rubrum, red maple), were exposed to brown rot and white rot fungi in a standard laboratory decay test and compared with unfigured wood of each species, respectively. For the birdseye maple, two levels of figure intensity were used: wood with heavy figure and wood with light figure. Heavily figured birdseye maple wood was decayed significantly less by the brown rot fungus Rhodonia placenta than unfigured maple wood or lightly figured maple wood. However, heavily figured birdseye maple wood was decayed significantly more by two white rot fungi, Trametes versicolor and Irpex lacteus, than unfigured maple wood but was not decayed significantly more than lightly figured wood. For both brown rot and white rot fungi, lightly figured birdseye maple wood did not decay significantly differently compared with unfigured wood. Likewise, there was no significant difference in decay between curly red maple wood and unfigured red maple wood for either brown rot or white rot fungi. Results suggest chemical or anatomical differences in the heavily figured birdseye sugar maple wood affect decay by brown rot and white rot fungi. These findings may be useful to hobbyists and woodworkers needing to protect wood or who partially decay wood to produce spalted wood for decorative purposes.

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Wood and Fiber Science