Is Sugar Pine Wood Good – What it is used for?

What is Sugar Pine Wood

Sugar Pine is a type of evergreen that is quite popular and beloved.

David Douglas, the man who discovered the species, called it the most “princely” in its genus and has also been called the Queen of the Sierra and the King of the Pines.

Where does the name “sugar pine” actually come from?

The sweet sap of the tree gives it its name with some people preferring it instead of maple syrup.

Native Americans used the sap for food and the tree for a variety of purposes, including bark and seeds for food, pitch for glue, small roots for baskets, and the gum of the tree to repair items like boats and arrowheads.

Even the bark and leaves were used for medical purposes.

What Makes Sugar Pine So Special?

The tree’s appearance and attributes are unmatched.

Sugar pine is the largest and the tallest of the different pines and can grow as tall as 200 feet and more than 60 inches in diameter.

Older Sugar Pine trees date as far back as 500 years, and the wood has some of the highest quality and value around.

Sugar Pine trees are defined by their long needles that are clustered to form small bundles.

They feature horizontal, long branches that tend to droop a bit at the ends because of the weight of the cones.

Though considered to be somewhat soft, the wood of the Sugar Pine is still quite hard.

It is extremely popular thanks to its large, clear pieces that are quite stable and lightweight.

They are also easily milled and have a uniform grain that is straight and easy to work with.

You’ll commonly find them used for door frames, organ pipes, and piano keys.

Sugar Pine Wood Uses and Benefits

Where Can You Find Sugar Pines?

The natural habitat of Sugar Pine trees runs from Oregon to Mexico and then east toward Nevada.

The elevation ranges from about sea level to nearly 10,000 feet.

They are not commonly found in pure stands but are instead usually located in diverse plant communities.

You’ll find the densest populations on the western side of the Sierra mountains.

What Affects the Health of the Sugar Pine?

Sugar pine cone beetles can cause as much as 93 percent loss of their seeds.

The mountain pine beetle is another pest that wears away the trees, often killing large groups of them.

There are other seed predators, including the Douglas squirrel, white-headed woodpecker, and other small mammals and birds that also snack on the seeds although they also help the species out by distributing the seeds further from the parent tree.

Overall, the population of Sugar Pines has been on the decline because of the pathogen white pine blister rust that causes cankers and kills both young trees and seedlings.

Though young Sugar Pine trees are susceptible to fire, mature Sugar Pines will usually survive a flame.

They are also less susceptible to attacks by disease and insects after a fire. The trees are not really drought tolerant but they are ozone tolerant.

Their low drought tolerance is one of the reasons that the planting of Sugar Pines has not been very successful as it has with other pines.

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