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Southern Pine grows in a wide geographic belt, stretching from East Texas through Virginia. The name Southern Pine, or Southern Yellow Pine, is representative of a group of four principal tree species: longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly, and slash. Lumber from all four species is marketed as Southern Pine and graded in accordance with the grading rules of the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB), approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC). The natural characteristics that distinguish Southern Pine as a most versatile building material are:
Design values assigned for Southern Pine are among the highest of all softwoods. Southern Pine has earned a reputation as the “Supreme Structural Wood of the World.
Southern Pine is highly resistant to wear. It is ideally suited for high-traffic applications such as boardwalks, decks, and flooring.
Southern Pine grading rules restrict moisture content of lumber 50mm (2”) or less in thickness to a maximum of 19%. If specified as “KD” or “KD19”, the maximum is 19%. If specified as “KD15”, the maximum is 15%. Moisture content restrictions apply at the time of shipment to the buyer, as well as at the time of dressing if dressed lumber is involved. Material identified by a certified grade mark is evidence that the Southern Pine lumber has been properly seasoned, and considered sterilized by most importing countries.
Southern Pine’s ability to hold nails and other fasteners is among the highest of all softwoods. Drying or seasoning, Southern Yellow Pine Lumber enhances fastener holding capabilities.
Southern Pine has long been a preferred species when pressure treatment with preservatives is required. The unique cellular structure of Southern Pine permits deep, uniform penetration of preservatives, rendering the wood useless as a food source for fungi, termites and microorganisms.
A Teeming Land of Timber
The growing abundance of pine timber in the southern United States is largely the result of ideal growing conditions and intensive forest management. Southern Pine trees grow fast and mature quickly due to natural factors such as long summers, plentiful rainfall and fertile soils. The growth process has been further enhanced by extensive planting with genetically superior seedlings. In fact, the time required for sawtimber crop rotations can now be as little as 25 years. The region grows timber at a rate one-fourth greater than the national average. Most of the commercial forestland in the southern United States belongs to some two million private individuals who sell timber to forest products companies. Since these privately owned lands are less regulated, with fewer restrictions on timber harvests and sales than the government-owned forests of the western United States, they are stable sources of supply and more responsive to market demands. Those are some of the reasons why it is generally predicted that Southern Pine may ultimately become the primary source in the United States of softwood lumber for domestic and foreign markets.
Now Is The Time
If you are a buyer, specifier, or user of building materials, now is the time to become acquainted with Southern Pine lumber. Growing demand for Southern Pine lumber in world markets is anticipated because of its structural values and its vast supply potential. By the end of this century, Southern Pine is expected to provide a majority of the softwood lumber produced by the United States in quantities that will permit ever larger shipments to buyers throughout the United States and around the world. Southern Pine lumber is manufactured primarily from four botanical species — shortleaf (Pinus echinata), longleaf (Pinus palustris), loblolly (Pinus taeda), and slash (Pinus elliotti) — which grow extensively on some 30 million hectares of forestland in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. While there are variations among species, they have one thing in common — exceptional strength. Southern Pine is one of the strongest structural woods in the world. Other natural advantages are high resistance to wear, superior ability to hold fastenings, and ease of treatment with preservatives. The southern United States is one region with some of the greatest softwood growth potential, and corresponding export capability, of any geographic area on earth. The region has a significant inventory of timber and an ample supply of land for future tree crops. This area also provides an abundance of deep-water ports, rivers and inland waterways to expedite shipment abroad.
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