Radiata pine

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Radiata Pine

Radiata pine is a versatile timber widely used for the full range of structural and decorative uses including framing, lining, glue laminated beams, veneer & plywood.

The timber

When appropriately treated, it can be used for many exposed structural and non-structural applications.

The timber is low in density and fairly soft, often with very wide annual growth rings. The heartwood is light brown to yellow, the sapwood white to pale yellow, but often indistinct. The grain is usually straight, but knots are common. 
Radiata pine is very easy to work with standard tools, although its knotty character and resin canals can cause premature blunting of cutters. Its open grain structure readily accepts preservative treatment, which can provide protection to hazard level 6 (the highest level).

The resource

A native of North America, Radiata Pine is grown as a plantation timber in Tasmania. The species prefers cooler climates and is unsuitable for the subtropics and more humid coastal areas. It is frost and cold hardy, but can be damaged by snowfalls, and grows best between the coast and 1,000m above sea level. Radiata Pine prefers sloping, well-drained sites and will not grow well in heavy clay soil.

Radiata Pine has been chosen as a plantation species because it is easily raised and planted. It provides larger yields of usable timber in a shorter time than many native species. It seeds readily and, in exposed sunny positions, a seed may still fall and sprout a year or two after ripening. It can be susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight. Radiata Pine is generally harvested at about 35 years.

Radiata Pine plantations in Tasmania are largely concentrated in the north-west of the state. There is currently around 71,500ha of pine plantations which equates to 28% of Tasmania’s total plantations.

The Tree

Radiata Pine is a medium-sized tree that reaches heights of 40–50m, with a diameter of about 1 metre. In plantations, trees have straight trunks with a shallow crown. Radiata Pine is a fast growing tree. The annual growth rate in plantations averages 18m3 per hectare per year.

Female pine cones grow on very short stalks. They start out small and green but soon become quite large (8–14 cm) and brown. Male cones are fairly inconspicuous, remaining small and hidden among the pine needles.

Leaves are characteristically dark green pine needles, generally 5–13 cm long. 

The bark of Radiata Pine is grey to red-brown. Thick, rough and deeply fissured, the bark can be 6cm deep by the time a tree is 40 years old. It only sheds in small flakes. Tannins from the bark can be used to make adhesives.

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