Paulownia trees is a huge genus of plants consisting of more that seventeen species. Commonly encountered species include P. Australis, P. Elongata, P. Catalpifolia, P. Glabrata among others. Historians say that these trees are native to most areas of China, Laos and Vietnam but they have also been known to be widely cultivated in other parts of Asia including Japan and Korea. There are many other areas all over the world in which they are cultivated today due to their numerous benefits.
Trees in this genus are deciduous. They grow to a height of about 50 feet on average when mature. They typically flower in the season of spring and are usually vulnerable to attacks by caterpillars at this time. Spraying with insecticides helps control the resultant damage. Fruits are dry and capsulated with tiny seeds.
The trees survive in all types of soil. The prefer areas that have a low table hence can be grown in areas with adverse weather conditions. Plenty of sunlight is essential for proper growth. Individuals growing them on plantations frequently use fertilisers in an effort to improve the yields.
The trees have numerous uses. They are now widely used for reforestation programs. The main reason for this is the ability if these species to quickly regenerate degraded patches of land and restore the ecology of these areas. Environmentalists have suggested their use as a solution for deforestation facing many countries. Their benefit to the environment is also realized in intercropping as a measure of reducing soil erosion.
The relatively short growing season makes this genus highly commercially viable for hardwood production. Most species mature within five years and therefore tend to have very good returns. They have a major advantage of not requiring the planting of other seedlings upon harvesting. New plants are instead left to regenerate from the existing roots. The timber harvested is pale, whitish and consists of a straight grain. It is demanded highly due to its relatively high ignition point and rot resistance.
A species known as Paulwnia fortunei is considered the fastest growing species. It is the best producer of hardwood commercially in the whole genus. This species has been the subject of reaserch activities for several decades now. It has been shown to grow very tall and exhibit huge apical dominance over the other species in the genus. Its other important characteristic is that it can grow in a wide range of climates and soils.
The trees that are chosen for timber production should preferably be grown to be very tall and straight in their first season of growth. The land for planting is typically ripped deep and ploughed in a rotational manner. There may or may need be the need for beds. Raising beds has several advantages to the farmer. For instance, it improves the soil drainage, the depth and the warmth particularly in the spring season. Planting of seedlings is done directly into the plots. Planting is usually done in October and November.
Traditionally, paulownia trees were used in the production of resonators of single stringed instruments. This has been extended in the modern world as relates to the manufacture of low-cost electric guitars. Other uses include the making of wooden surfboard and use as ornamental plants.
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