Our timberlands offer some of the finest hardwood species due in part to our northern climate and geography. The growing season is long enough and the winters cold enough to support a variety of hardwood species, including plenty of White Oak, Red Oak, Cherry, Black Walnut, Beech, Hard Maple, Hickory and Ash. Learn more about each species and how each makes for distinctive hardwood flooring through the links below.
The White Oak tree is a symbol of strength and beauty, this is one reason the oak tree in general is America’s national tree. The white oak tree grows straight and to magnificent heights within the forest, and out in an open field it develops into massive broad-topped tree with large branches striking out at wide angels. White Oaks produce acorns which can lay dormant in the ground for up to 60 years waiting for the sunlight required to sprout. When the mature tree is harvested to create your floor it will open the canopy allowing sunlight to hundreds of new trees ready to grow.
Red Oak (Quercus Rubra) Pennsylvania, especially here along the Allegheny Plateau, is known worldwide for growing top quality Red Oak trees. This tree has been one of the largest and most important timber trees in America’s history. Various types of oaks in the Red Oak family, which grow locally are used for flooring; Northern Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, and Pin oak.
Pennsylvania’s Cherry is known throughout the world for its quality and value. We are fortunate to have these trees growing in our back yard. Cherry Trees are members of the Rose family which is fitting as they are both beautiful. The Black Cherry used for flooring is one of the largest cherry trees and is easily identifiable by its thick, rough, dark outer bark. Cherry saplings can only survive for 3 to 5 years under a dense canopy covering, opening the canopy after a harvest is the only way for these young trees to survive. Colonists used cherry trees for their fruit, its medicinal properties, and stunningly beautiful home furnishings.
Black Walnut is one of the most valuable and beautiful native trees. Heavy, strong, durable heartwood is easily worked and in great demand for veneers, cabinets making, interior finishing, and gunstocks. Nuts are loved by humans and animals alike. Walnuts are one of the world’s oldest foods and have been cultivated for at least 2,000 years. These nutritious nuts have been linked to love and fertility throughout history and their reputation as an aphrodisiac dates back to ancient Greece and Rome.
The Beech tree is known as the “Mother of the Forest” for its nutrient rich humus. These large trees, like Aspen trees, are clone organisms. There will likely be one large mother tree with a large patch of young clones. A tall tree with distinctive smooth, pliable, gray bark and long, slender, many-scaled buds. Beech trees scar easily and the tree is unable to heal itself. Due to this carvings, such as lovers’ initials and other forms of graffiti will remain.
Hard Maple is famous for its maple syrup and stunning leaves display of color in the fall. It favors the cold weather and is typically in North Eastern part of the US. In terms of lumber Acer Saccharum is referred to as Hard Maple, but it is also known as Sugar Maple, Black Maple or Rock Maple.
Both Shagbark Hickory and Pignut Hickory trees are used for our Hickory flooring. Shagbark Hickory is easily identifiable in the forest with its shaggy bark peeling back from the tree trunk. Pignut is not so easily visually distinguishable, but produces plenty of nuts which can be easily found scattered around the base of the tree. The nuts are edible and tasty. Animals love them and Native American’s stored the nuts for winter use making cooking oil and other foods.
White ash is one of the most used trees for everyday purposes and, to keep up with high demand, is cultivated almost everywhere it can be. It is the timber of choice for production of baseball bats and tool handles. The wood is also favorable for furniture and flooring. Unfortunately an invasive species, the Emerald Ash Borer has been highly destructive to Ash trees. It has killed over 50 million Ash trees since 1990 when it was accidently introduced and threatens to wipe out the entire species in all of the US and Canada.
A medium-sized tree with bark mostly smooth, chalk white to yellow green in color. It’s known as Quaking Aspen because its leaves flutter in the slightest breeze. It has an unbelievably wide growing range; from mostly northern belt stretching from Labrador and Newfoundland to Alaska’s Yukon River. Aspen groves are clonal flowering plants, like Beech, and a grove of Aspen in Utah is one of the largest living organisms in the world. Botanists have also calculated some aspen groves to have lived 10,000 years, outlasting bristlecone pines, giant sequoias, and California redwoods in longevity.
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