The Q&A Archives: Hardwood Trees for Cabinet-making

Question: Where can I get information on what trees to plant for harvesting in 20-30 years? I understand that hardwoods for making fine furniture have always had a market? My father wants to plant trees, but does not want pines.

Answer: I would call your state's Department of Natural Resouces, and see if you have a county forester. This would be a good person to consult about what trees are appropriate for the climate, soil, etc. You might consider nut trees like walnut... but do contact a local forestry expert. I'm kind of curious about the new disease-resistant elms--though you'd want to do lots of research before investing in those!

My first thought is to plant a variety of trees--a monoculture of one type of plant encourages outbreaks of insects and/or disease. Also, consider that trees grown for lumber can need a good deal of maintenance (for example, trimming branches to promote knot-free wood) so get some professional advice. Finally, 20 to 30 years isn't very long when it comes to timber, so check with the forester about harvest cycles.

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