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Wood Characteristics - Definitions of Wood

Simple Definitions of Wood

Influences on Color

  • Soil types
  • Minerals
  • Water levels
  • Available sunlight
  • Temperature
  • Genetic composition

Causes of Grain Variation

  • Tree size
  • Growth rate
  • Climate changes
  • Site conditions
  • Genetics
  • Bird damage
  • Insect damage
  • Fire Damage

Softwoods vs. Hardwoods

These two botanical classifications are confusing because there is no direct correlation between the classification and the hardness or softness of the wood.

  • Hardwoods have broad leaves
  • Softwoods have needle–like or scale–like leaves

Sapwood & Sap Lines

  • Contains living cells and performs an active role in the tree’s life processes
  • Located next to cambium
  • Functions in sap conduction and storage of food
  • Ranges from 1 ½” to 2” thick, thicker in maples, hickories, ashes, some southern yellow pine and ponderosa pine, especially in second growth trees