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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.
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).
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.
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.
Radiata Pine Technical Details
- Dressed seasoned timber 40 to 190 mm wide by 12 to 90 mm thick. Undressed seasoned timber 50 to 200 mm wide by 19 to 100 mm thick. Lengths up to 5400 mm long are available, with the bulk of production between 2400 and 4800 mm long.
- Grain is usually straight. Knots are common and growth rings are prominent.
- Fine but uneven.
- Durability Description
- Termite resistance of heartwood: Not resistant. The in-ground performance of untreated Radiata pine is poor. It can be treated with preservatives to any durability class. Refer to AS 5604-2005 Timber - Natural durability ratings.
- In-ground: Class 4
- Above-ground: Class 4
- Movement - Shrinkage
- Approximately 2.9% radial, 4.8% tangential.
- Unseasoned: 800 kg/cu m
- Seasoned: 550 kg/cu m
- Strength Group
- Unseasoned: S6
- Seasoned: SD6
- Joint Group
- Unseasoned: J4
- Seasoned: JD4
- Structural Grades
- F4 to F14; MGP10, 12 and 15
- Toughness (Izod)
- Unseasoned: 12
- Seasoned: 6.9
- Hardness (Janka)
- Unseasoned: 2.1
- Seasoned: 3.3
Fire Hazard Properties
- Fire hazard Properties: Flooring (AS ISO 9239.1)
- Critial Radiant Heat Flux: NA
- Smoke Development Rate: NA
- Fire Hazard Properties: Wall and Weiling Lining (AS/NZ 3837)
- Material Group: 3
- Average Extinction Area: Less than 250 m2/kg
- Moderate. Can be severe in knotty material.
- Easy, normally fairly clean.
- Smooth surfaces easy to attain. Knots can be hard on cutters.
- Easy to drill. Holes tend to be oversize.
- Rebating + Mortising
- Generally produces good results.
- Very easy to nail. Twisted shank nails may be necessary to achieve saisfactory hold.
- Glues well with most common adhesives.
- A good bending timber. 25mm material bends well to a radius of 100mm.
- Readily worked to a smooth, flat surface. Stains readily, and finishes adhere very well.
Radiata Pine Environmental Details
- 28% of the state's plantations are Radiata Pine
- Chain of custody
- Carbon storage
- 242 kg/cu m
- R Values
- 0.74 (100mm)
- Radiata Pine is freely available and is continuously harvested.