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Author Topic: Southern Yellow Pine ?  (Read 12603 times)

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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2009, 09:13:29 am »
Fishpharmer, you are absolutely correct that we are merely discussing semantics :).  But semantics often seem to make for great topics of discussion, don't they? ;D

I found they first link that you provided quite interesting.  On the first page, you'll find this line:
Quote
Southern Pine grows in a vast band across the Southern United States, from East Texas to Virginia. In fact, it's a rare county that doesn't contain a representative of one of the four main species: shortleaf, longleaf, loblolly or slash.
  If there are four main species, according to the southern pine council, doesn't that imply that there must be minor species as well? ???  Also interesting was this line:
Quote
Lumber from all four is marketed as Southern Pine (or Southern Yellow Pine) and graded in accordance with the grading rules of the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB), approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee.
  This indicates to me that "southern pine" is in fact synonymous with "southern yellow pine".  But of course, with the exception of eastern white pine, which only snakes its way south along the Appalachian ridges, all pines in the South are yellow pines. 

As a consumer, however, all that really matters is the strength of the lumber, hence the "rings per inch" rule that SD cited.  Once the bark is gone, there's no reliable way to tell one southern yellow pine from another.  However, I do have to disagree with the last statement Donk makes:
So really, it's not a specific species, it's the density of the piece from the southern pines that class it SYP in grading.
  A loblolly pine will always be a southern yellow pine, even if the wood has two rings per inch.  It just can't (legally) be sold as structural timber due to its insufficient strength.

The final message, I guess, is that southern yellow pine is a common name for a group of trees, and as we all know, common names are confusing :)
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2009, 10:17:53 am »
I think egos have an even bigger role. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Tom

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2009, 11:53:37 am »
As a lobotomist, my ego dictates that, I can't tell one SYP tree from the other after it is been sawed into lumber.

I can make  a pretty good guess at Long Leaf, but I've also seen loblolly with rings so tight you can't count them.  That has been, supposedly, one of the factors in marketing SYP over the years, in that the word "lumped" is used in describing it.   "Once sawed, they are lumped into the market as SYP".  Those last quotes are mine as a synopsis of written and verbal comments I've heard over the years.

There is even a distinction as to the quality of lumber that comes from the four "major" species.  Loblolly is inherently the hardest to saw.  It's wide bands of summer wood (early wood) let a narrow kerf band wander around like a drunk on Main Street, and offers little guidance or resistance with the kerf as the Winter wood (late wood) is contacted.   I've sawed Loblolly that looks like a snake, almost as if you deliberately sawed it to look like a ribbon because the "waves" from one side matched the other.

Longleaf is the premium.  It makes the prettiest deep yellow lumber with red heart (not the disease) that one could ever want.  I hate to put any finish at all, but for some wax, on a piece of longleaf that has a mixture of heart and sapwood.  It looks like a piece of streak-a-lean bacon and gets prettier as it gets older.

So there is a lot to the claim that the definition may be structural when defining sawed boards, especially when the source is not known.  Knowing the character of some of the yellow pines, though, without some indication as to the source, SYP could lose its reputation as a strong and pretty building material if a "look-a--like" piece of Black Pine (Pocosin) makes it into lumber destined for headers, ladders or scaffolding.

In my simple opinion, the term SYP should be one that we should revere and protect, if for no other reason than to protect the reputation, and the uniqueness, of the region in which it grows. By making the distinction among Yellow Pines, we are declaring a special seat in the hierarchy of lumber for SYP.  That can be called semantics, if you like, but I call it marketing.  :)
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2009, 01:17:48 pm »
Here's a collection of seven common yellow pines, six of which grow in Georgia.  Anyone want to take a stab at them?







Tom, I totally understand your reasoning behind wanting to maintain the reputation of the term "southern yellow pine", but my feeling is that if you walk into any box store and check out there selection of 4x4's, that reputation is already well on its way to ruin.  Loblolly has to be the most variable of the SYPs, with some of them as hard, strong, and tight-grained as any longleaf pine, but the majority of them are of much lower quality, and I've even sawed some loblolly that was about as light as spruce - in color and in weight.  I wish all SYPs were longleaf :)
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Offline DanG

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2009, 02:55:22 pm »
p. quartersawnus, p. flatsawnus, p. riftsawnus, p. gonnawarpus, p. niceboardus, p. denimus, p. particleboardus
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Offline Tom

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2009, 02:57:04 pm »
Nah, I got better sense than that.   I know I couldn'lt guess one when I've not even seen all the yellow pines.

Well, what the heck, maybe it'll be fun to make a stab at it. using some of my eyeball memories.  All I have to go on.  :)
left-right
The first could pass for LongLeaf vertical grain.

The second I would guess as flat-sawed Loblolly or plantation grown slash.  The color and thickness of the winter wood makes me think there might be some reaction wood envolved. The color could also be indicative of pond pine.

The third looks like slash from the end but it's hard to tell from the wide surface, the wide grain on the right side of the board sure indicated that it jumped in those 4 years represented. I'd say it might be loblolly too.

The stripe of heart and the even grain of the fourth board indicates a possibility of longleaf, but slash will do that too.  

The fifth one over shows a very flat-sawn piece with oval images indicative of a board sawn from a marbled surface.  I'd say it was grown under a canopy. It's grain is tight, but I can't see it from the end.  It could be Loblolly, based on the light color, though it probably is one I've not seen much of , like shortleaf maybe.

The Next one over has very wide grain on the right but it is like there was a limb there or maybe a lump on the side of the tree or a bend in the log.  I'd guess it to be open-grown, whatever it is.

The one on the far right, I haven't a clue.  It's almost white. All I'd guess is that it was wet footed.
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2009, 03:51:56 pm »
You did very well, Tom! 8)

From right to left, they are:

Longleaf pine (P. palustris)
Slash pine (P. elliottii)
Loblolly pine (P. taeda)
Pitch pine (P. rigida)
Shortleaf pine (P. echinata)
Virginia pine (P. virginiana)
Lodgepole pine (P. contorta)

The virginia pine is curious to me, in it's similarity to the southern yellow pines.  I would have definitely called it a southern yellow pine, not a western yellow pine, just by looking at the wood.  The lodgepole pine has much wider earlywood and much narrower latewood rings than the SYPs, giving it a much whiter appearance.  Close inspection reveals very little difference between the actual color of the latewood and earlywood bands between SYP and WYP, but the greater percentage of latewood in SYP is what gives it the yellow appearance.  Research from some of my esteemed colleagues at UGA has shown that the width of the latewood bands has more to do with the timing of the rainfall received than with the growth rate of the trees.  Areas that receive more rainfall in late summer, when the trees are producing latewood, will have wider latewood bands than areas that receive more rainfall in the spring, when the earlywood is being produced. 

You can see in the photos of the endgrain that the first three specimens all have a decent growth rate and very wide latewood bands, indicating that they were grown in a climate with lots of summer rainfall.  Southeast Georgia is one such region (which is where the samples came from).  Wood from this region is superir to wood from northeast Georgia, which tends to receive the bulk of its rainfall in the spring.  The next three species all have a greater percentage of earlywood, which makes sense, since all of the samples were taken from northeast Georgia.  The last sample has very narrow rings and the latewood bands are the narrowest of any sample.  I'm not familiar with rainfall patterns where this tree grew (heck, I don't even know where this tree grew), but I suspect that it's likely that it gets very little in late summer.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2009, 04:00:37 pm »
Tom, I think you'll agree with me on this. It's a lot easier to tell them apart when they are in front of you, you possibly hand selected the samples from known sources and you are the one doing the testing.  :D :D :D :D :D :D

Heck, let me put up some spruces. I could show you all kinds of variability. I can show you tight rings you can barely distinguish and they could fall into all 3 eastern spruces. Then I could make it easier and show typical samples, then you would still find it difficult to separate red spruce from black. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline nsmike

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2009, 04:02:45 pm »
Tom, I understand that your defensive about the term SYP when it comes to lumber and keeping your list to the four major species Longleaf, Shortleaf, Slash and Loblolly. In the pulp market the list is eight and adds Pitch, Pond, Spruce and Table Mountain. If you ask a Dendrologist he'll add in a whole bunch of species from Caribbean Islands and Mexico. I guess we all have to keep in mind context. Just to add fuel to the fire Loblolly is more closely related to three of the minor species, Pitch, Pond, and Table Moutain pine than it is to the other three major SYP species, a case can be made for dropping Loblolly from the SYP lumber designation but I won't get into that. ;D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2009, 04:06:14 pm »
Not much variability is earlywood width, so it stands to reason that they could make that conclusion. It's a pretty good hypothesis going into the experiment. ;)  That's been researched for a long time. Wet spring, turning dry for a stretch then later in summer heavy rainfall will induce lamas growth as well. I think some of those pines, a couple species at least show this fairly common.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2009, 04:07:09 pm »
Mike
Make your case. I'd like to hear it.

And could you fill in some on your bio?  please
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2009, 04:18:20 pm »
If you look at volumetric shrinkage of the 4, they are pretty much the same. Specific gravity (relative density), a bit wider margin between them. But, density in grading is different then relative density obviously.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2009, 04:46:34 pm »
If you ask a Dendrologist he'll add in a whole bunch of species from Caribbean Islands and Mexico.

You mean like P. caribea? ;D  I have never seen Carribean pine in person, but my dad has pictures from a sawmill operation in Honduras where they were sawing some pretty nice logs.  It's a close relative of slash pine, and I've read about some work with hybrids between the two.


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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2009, 05:14:12 pm »
Nice pictures Dodgy, that's your dad I assume. He sure takes a lot of cool pictures.  ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline nsmike

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2009, 05:15:03 pm »
beenthere, I have family ties to the lumber industry in the Carolinas my Sisters boyfriend (more like commonlaw BIL) runs a thinning crew for a major forestry company in NC and an Uncle that was involved in the industry in SC. Most of the arguments for excluding Pond, Pitch and Table Mountian pine applys equally to Loblolly unless it comes from carefully managed plantations.  Most of the complaints I hear are from my Uncle and making density he prefers Shortleaf.
Dodgy yep that's what I was thinking along with Cuban and Honduran.
Mike

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2009, 05:49:11 pm »


SYP maybe alot like Angus Beef in alot of resteraunts.


Who can tell the difference by taste?

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2009, 07:11:39 pm »
I can't even tell the difference between beef and bison. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline WDH

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2009, 08:01:36 pm »
The key to strength is the % latewood ( the dark band).  The amount of latewood is directly proportional to the amount of summer rainfall received.  Loblolly produces fine lumber if the trees have age and grow in a vigorous stand.  However, the problem with quality today is that the rotation age of commercially managed stands of loblolly (slash too, for that matter) has steadily decreased because of economic factors.  The average rotation age of commercially grown SYP plantations by Industry (they are the ones that produce the lions share of the lumber sold into the market) is now less than 30 years, with 26 being a good average.  That is the biggest problem, not the inherent nature of the 4 SYP commercial species.

You do not see the problem as much in slash, longleaf, and shortleaf since they are not usually grown in plantations to the extent that loblolly is (loblolly simply grows faster than the other three).  Plus, shortleaf and longleaf have a hard time producing sawtimber sized trees in 26 years.  As to size loblolly and slash on a good site can produce sawlog sized trees in that amount of time if the stand density is manipulated to maximize diameter growth.  That is what the foresters of the large companies do, focus on fast diameter growth.  That is the only way to grow trees commercially on a large scale and stay in business when growing SYP.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2009, 08:10:23 pm »
There is another way, if the industry would pursue it

There are a lot of farms and land owners who would be tree farmers again if the mills weren't so cut-throat.  The landowners can take a beating with price and they also empathise and sympathise with the loggers when quotas are so one-way that they have to sleep in their trucks at the gate to sell their one load a day.

I know it's deeper than the mills.  They are taking a beating too.  There is a lot of fiber coming into the states from outside the borders, competing with subsidized wood.

I'm wondering if tree farming isn't maybe becoming a thing of the past.

Do they grow material for studs and framing in India? :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Southern Yellow Pine ?
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2009, 08:30:20 pm »
Tom, you are right.  I am concerned about the ability of the private tree farmer to own land and grow trees.  The Industry is cutthroat and the competition from imports is fierce. 
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