Two tree species native to the Northeast have been found to be structurally sound for use in cross-laminated timber (CLT) products. Eastern white pine and eastern hemlock passed strength testing by a University of Massachusetts Amherst timber engineer. The findings, published in the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, suggest that these species could support local markets for CLT.
Researchers made composite building panels by gluing together wooden boards from hemlock and pine trees, and then broke them in a strength-testing machine. The researchers analyzed the results, comparing them to engineering requirements, and found that both tree species met building standards, with eastern hemlock outperforming pine.
Salvaging wood from eastern hemlock is a key forest-management priority because the trees are under attack by an insect, the hemlock wooly adelgid. The insect doesn’t harm the wood, but it kills the tree that then becomes hazardous fuel for forest fires.