Common and Not so Common Uses of Trees


Yellow and sweet birch lumber and veneer are used principally in the manufacture of furniture, boxes, baskets, crates, woodenware, cooperage, interior finish, and doors. Birch veneer goes into plywood used for flush doors, furniture, paneling, radio and television cabinets, aircraft, and other specialty uses. Paper birch is used for turned products, including spools, bobbins, small handles, and toys. Also used for pulp wood, fuel wood, turnery, distillation products, toothpicks, ice cream sticks and tongue depressors.


Ash is straight grained, heavy, hard, strong, and stiff; it wears smooth, with high shock resistance. It machines well and is better than average in nail- and screw-holding capacity. It glues moderately well. Black ash, green, pumpkin and blue ashes have lower specific gravity and lower strength properties, but are still moderately strong, hard, and stiff compared to other native hardwoods. Ashes also split easier, shrink more, are average in workability, and perform more poorly in service compared to other native hardwoods.

Handle stock, baseball bats, unupholstered furniture, flooring, millwork, hand tools, sporting goods, boxes and crates.

Larches and Tamaracks (the larch- the only deciduous conifer)

Tamarack works well in most instances, but may have a dulling effect on tools. It has a tendency to split when nailed and is low in paint retention.

Pulp products (glassine paper), posts, poles, mine timbers, rough timber, fuel wood, boxes, crates, and pails. In Alaska, young stems are used for dogsled runners, boat ribs, and fish traps. In Alberta, the branches are used for making goose and duck decoys.

White Pine (five needles in a bunch)

It is easily worked with tools, is straight grained, and is dimensionaly stable. It takes stains, glue, and finishes well. It has good nail-holding ability.

Most Eastern white pine is converted into lumber, which is put to a great variety of uses. A large proportion, which is mostly second-growth knotty lumber or the lower grades, goes into container and packaging applications. High grade lumber goes into patterns for castings. Other important uses are sash, doors, furniture, trim, knotty paneling, finish, caskets and burial boxes, shade and map rollers, and toy, dairy, and poultry supplies. The bark is used to produce white pine tar, an antiseptic and expectorant. The tree is a popular Christmas tree. Prior to the late 1800s, most of the large trees were logged for ship masts.

Aspen (Poplar) –the evil trees of death that drop buds full of permanent, sticky yellow dye on my lawn

Aspen does not split when nailed, machines easily with a slightly fuzzy surface, and turns, bores and sands well. It holds nails poorly to fairly well, but glues, prints, and holds paint well. It is easily pulped by all commercial processes.

Pulp for books, newsprint and fine printing papers. Fiberboard, wafer board, sheathing, decking, decorative applications, boxes, crates, pallets, furniture parts, lumber core, veneer, match sticks, tongue depressors, paneling, excelsior.

Eastern Red Cedar (from:
Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) grows throughout the eastern half of the United States except in Maine, Florida, and a narrow strip along the Gulf Coast and at the higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountain Range.  Commercial production is principally in the southern Appalachian and Cumberland Mountain regions.  Another species, southern red cedar (J. silicicola), grows over a limited area in the South Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains.  The heartwood of red cedar is bright or dull red, and the narrow sapwood is nearly white.  The wood is moderately heavy, moderately low in strength, hard, and high in shock resistance, but low in stiffness.  It has very low shrinkage and is dimensionally stable after drying.  The texture is fine and uniform and the wood commonly has numerous small knots.  Eastern red cedar heartwood is very resistant to decay.  The greatest quantity of eastern red cedar is used for fence posts.  Lumber is manufactured into chests, wardrobes, and closet lining.  Other uses include flooring, novelties, pencils, scientific instruments and small boats.  Southern red cedar is used for the same purposes.  Eastern red cedar is reputed to repel moths but this claim has not been supported by research.
White oak
White oak wood is hard, strong and durable; a valuable timber tree with many commercial uses.  Its use for the staves of barrels and buckets and as a ship-building wood is due to its resistance to water penetration This characteristic is attributed to a plastic-like substance named tyloses that plugs the sapwood vessels to block the movement of water and fungal spores.  It is one of the premier woods used in the manufacture of furniture, paneling, veneer, and the aptly named hardwood floors.  Its use for railroad ties, mine timbers and fence posts is testimony to its strength and reliability.  It has a high fuel value and is one of the best sources of firewood. However, white oak regenerates poorly after a timber harvest.

The sugar maple (Acer saccharum), also called hard maple or rock maple, is tapped for sap, which is then boiled to produce maple syrup or made into maple sugar or maple candy. Syrup can be made from closely-related species as well, such as the black maple, but their output is generally considered inferior.
Some of the larger maple species have valuable timber, particularly sugar maple (hard maple) in North America, and sycamore maple in Europe. Maple is one of the most popular trees for hardwood lumber, and is used for hardwood floors, furniture (cabinets, dressers, tables, etc.), crates, railroad ties, construction, and other purposes. Sugar maple wood is the wood of choice for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, drums, and butcher's blocks. Maple wood is also used for the production of wooden baseball bats, though less often than ash or hickory.
Some maple wood has a highly decorative wood grain, known as flame maple and quilt maple. This condition occurs randomly in individual trees of several species, and often cannot be detected until the wood has been sawn, though it is sometimes visible in the standing tree as a rippled pattern in the bark. Maple is considered a tonewood, or a wood that carries sound waves well, and is used in numerous instruments such as guitars and drums.
As they are a major source of pollen and nectar in early spring before many other plants have flowered, maples are important to the survival of honeybees that play a commercially-important role later in the spring and summer.
Maple is also popular among toy manufacturers, most notably wooden toy trains.

American hornbeam
Extremely hard white close grained wood. Uses of wood - Good firewood and for producing charcoal. Was used for cogwheels and butchers chopping blocks. Blunts tools. Food and drink - Nuts attractive to birds.

Eastern Hemlock
Used to tan leather

Used to mitigate stream bank erosion