Tree species: Pine – the gold of Finnish forests

Tree species: Pine – the gold of Finnish forests

Finnish timber is considered in international scale to be of high quality. Pine is one of the most common trees in our forests, and pine logs are the main raw material for the domestic sawmill industry. Approximately 75% of Pölkky’s production is pine.

The pine, Pinus sylvestris, typically grows in bright and dry forests, even in relatively harsh conditions. It is an evergreen coniferous tree that grows 15–30 meters tall, sometimes up to 40 meters. Northern Finland’s pines take longer to grow to the same dimensions than trees in southern Finland – typically trees in northern Finland grow to their full size in 80–120 years. Pine wood is used as a raw material in e.g. the construction and furniture industry.

Pine is generally very resistant to damage, but as a young tree it is vulnerable when e.g. elks, moles and insects look for food. The pine tree grows a taproot that reaches deep into the ground, which makes it to withstand storms well.

Strong wood with tight grains

Compared to spruce (another common tree in Finnish forests), pine is quite similar in its properties, but slightly harder and heavier. Visually, these two types of wood can be clearly distinguished by, for example, their color. Pine wood has warmer tones, while spruce is lighter in color.

The pine that grows in the northern forests gets unique properties from its special growing conditions. Due to its short growing season, it grows more slowly, but at the same time it generates strong, dense and beautiful raw material. Due to these same properties, pine is an excellent material for further processing. From pine we can create, for example, beautiful panels and beams that meet strength requirements.

The trunk of a pine tree usually has a long branchless part, from which we get branchless or low-branched surface and side boards. Resin occurs evenly in the wood, and during planing it gets smoothed onto the surface of the wood, giving it a silky look. The resin protects the wood material in humid and hot conditions.

Pinewood is easy to plain. Its branches grow in a right angle to the core of the trunk. The dry-branched part of the trunk often also includes healthy branches, which is why the inner inserts of center cuts are usually sound-knotted.

Pine heartwood has several excellent properties, as we have written in our previous article. It is e.g. naturally resistant to decay and can also withstand attacks by insects. On the other hand, the sapwood of the pine is very permeable to water, which is why it can be easily impregnated, which makes it also well suited for e.g. outdoor use.

At Pölkky, we create a whole range of high-quality products for construction from pine, from sawn timber to planed panels, pressure treated products and glulam beams, not forgetting valuable by-products that are used both in the energy industry and as animal bedding. As a raw material, Finnish pine is in high demand around the world, and every year we export well over half of our production to our international customers.

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