Relationships of growth rate and mechanical properties in sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua


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Virginia Tech


Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, is a diffuse-porous hardwood occurring in the southeastern United States. In this observational study, trees from two plantations of sweetgum were evaluated for mechanical properties. The two plantations were similar in age, soil type, competition control, and water availability, but differed in nutrient availability, growing season, and growth rate. Three trees representing different crown classes were removed from both plantations. Each tree was sampled for compression strength parallel to grain along the height of the merchantable stem. Oven-dry specific gravity was then calculated for each sample. The results indicate that young sweetgum trees grow weaker wood than mature trees. It was observed that dominant trees were stronger and denser than other trees. Denser wood was formed in the plantation with the shortest growing season and smallest growth rate. Three of six trees showed significant correlations of strength and stiffness with height in the tree.



wood quality, compression parallel to grain, failure modes, specific gravity, modulus of elasticity, growth rate, hardwood plantations, Forest management