Thursday, 06 August 2015 12:44

What is the difference between Northern, Appalachian and Southern hardwoods?

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It has been said that American hardwood lumber offers manufacturers numerous options when it comes to materials that can impact design.  The amount of species that grow in America offer manufacturers a great variety when it comes to color, grain patterns and usability.  Because of the large geography hardwood lumber grows in you will find that there can be subtle differentiation in look and feel within the same species.  Many times this is a benefit to end users and sometimes even a preference for their procurement.

It is not uncommon for hardwood lumber users to ask for a particular American hardwood species based on the region it was harvested from.  That is because each region tends to provide slightly different lumber characteristics. Depending on what the hardwood lumber forestmanufacture is seeking to accomplish, hardwood lumber from a particular region might be more advantageous than another.  Here is a general categorization of each of the American hardwood lumber growing regions.

Northern Hardwood Lumber Region –  This area is generally considered the States that span from Wisconsin to Maine. These States typically experience long winter seasons and short summers.  As a growing region this creates trees that have tight grains and slow growth patterns. It is common to find species such as birch and maple thrive in this region.

Central Hardwood Lumber Region –  The States in the central part of the country, generally between Missouri and Virginia, make up the central region.  These States experience hot summers but also cold winters.  Certain species such as walnut and hickory are commonly found in this area.

Southern Hardwood Lumber Region – The climate of this region is one of short winter seasons and long hot summers.  This is a region that produces faster growing trees with typically lighter color tones and wider grain patterns.  Poplar is a species that is commonly found in abundance in this region.

Appalachian Hardwood Lumber Region – The Appalachian region is a specific area that spans across several States in the Northern, Central and Southern regions.  It follows a mountain region and provides a climate that many believe provides for great growing conditions because of its soil, climate and rain fall.

Pacific Hardwood Lumber Region – This lesser known hardwood growing region has more of a maritime like climate and produces unique species compared to is counterparts in the East such as red alder and Pacific Coast maple.

Many of the hardwood lumber species found in America grow in more than one region.  Beautiful trees that produce high quality lumber can be found throughout each area.  But in general you will find that trees grown in the Northern region produce lumber with tighter grain patterns and deeper color compared to their equivalent from the Southern region.  One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on the look, feel and application the manufacturer is trying to achieve.

Fortunately, Baillie Lumber's hardwood manufacturing facilities are spread across the United States. When you couple this with our trusted partner mills and suppliers who supplement our own production we have access to the entire breath of hardwood lumber options available in the market.


If you are looking for a specific type of hardwood lumber consider contacting us today.  We’ll do our best to help you find what you need to make your company successful.


Tony Cimorelli
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