Same Species, different Soil Chemistry
In this episode I look at how the soil chemistry can change the appearance and working properties of the lumber we use from the tree. You can have the same species of tree from 2 different watersheds or even different parts of the the same hillside that will look very different from one another. This is simply due to the soil chemistry and the varying nutrients the tree absorbs as it grows. Walnut colors can be all over the place due to different soil chemistry. Cedar can be more rot resistant when grown in a higher limestone bedrock. Cherry can be of a higher grade and larger tree size due to eons ago glaciation laying down just the right sedimentary layer.
But these chemical differences can also be create by external forces too. Tree plantations of Spanish Cedar or Teak will exhibit a different color, grade, and rot resistance due to the difference in soil from the native lands to far flung regions of the world where the plantation is set up. The eruption of a volcano can infuse White Oaks with pumice and ash making the tree more rock than wood.
All of these elements will change how the lumber looks and keeps us guessing and loving the unpredictable, organic nature of the wood we all love. It is a fascinating subject that can tell us a lot about where a particular tree grew and also what quality of lumber we might expect from the same region where the tree was felled.