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Why acacia wood?

Sustainable    –    Ecological    –    European    –    Quality wood

Clotures - piquet acacia bois (8).jpg
Acacia wood trunk
Bee on acacia flower

The acacia wood Robinia (Latin: "Robinia pseudoacacia") is a native tree commonly found in northeastern parts of the United States of America. Acacia wood is also known as "Acacia" (trade name and simple form), "Faux-Acacia" in French, "Black locust" in English, "Robinie" or "Akazienbaum" in German or "Robinia" in Spanish and Italian. Because of its high natural durability, some lend it the name of 'European TECK'.

As early as the 17th century this tree was introduced and developed in Europe, where it grows in a temperate climate at low altitudes and with well ventilated soil.

Acacia, a hard and durable wood, has an advantage over its European native competitors such as oak and chestnut. Acacia's durability is much higher (click here to see its classes of use) and also has a rapid growth (about 25 to 30 years for its full operating cycle) which makes it a very profitable species from an economical view. Because of its high resistance, acacia wood has the potential to replace exotic species such as Teak, Ipe or Iroko which are becoming more expensive due to rising shipping costs to Europe, especially in the current situation, where environmental issues increase the relevance of using local woods. It is obvious why some people call it  'European TECK'.

This is why acacia wood is widely favored for outdoor uses. While logs of large diameters are sent for sawing (deck boards, cladding and outdoor furniture), the main outlet for small diameter logs is the production of peeled poles. These poles can be used in various domains such as agriculture, viticulture, creating green spaces, horticulture, arboriculture, horseback riding and hunting facilities, oyster farming, or even roads. The range of diameters and lengths for the poles are very wide because each sector requires custom modifications. Nevertheless, given that it has a lifespan of about 60 years, the price of poles is relatively cheap compared to other species and/or other materials (concrete, plastic, metal) (see page acacia and its competitors).

In addition to the fact that acacia wood is of unequaled quality, this tree has other numerous advantages:

 

Participating in biodiversity
Being a very honey-rich species, the acacia plays an important role in animal biodiversity. Indeed, this species is very popular with the hymenoptera insect family  (bees, wasps, etc.), because its flowers contain a lot of pollen and nectar.


Sustaining and maintaining soil
This pioneer plant, which belongs to the leguminous plants family "Fabaceae", adapts to all types of soil and has the peculiarity of developing on poor soils unfavorable to the development of flora. Acacia, like all leguminous plants, enriches the soil by capturing atmospheric nitrogen and then making it available for other plants at ground level. Because of its edaphic plasticity and its great resistance to drought, the "black locust" is an interesting species in the global warming context.
In addition, acacia trees have the ability to support soil retention, thanks to their powerful lateral root system that can extend up to 15 meters in radius.


Simple regeneration
Acacia natural regenerates very easily through stump rejection and sucking. It can also be regenerated by root cuttings or by planting. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages and they must be considered according to the objective sought.


Density, hardness, mechanical strength, and durability
Acacia is a fast-growing tree that produces a relatively heavy wood (density 0.7 to 0.9 depending on the degree of humidity). This species also has a high hardness comparable to, but better than, oak or teak. This last quality is an important feature in carpentry. It has outstanding mechanical performance, including good elasticity (stiffness and flexing strength) and high resilience (impact resistance). In addition, this tree is naturally almost rot-proof and therefore extremely resistant to moisture, insects, and fungi without the need of treatments. Acacia is therefore the most sustainable European wood with level IV sustainability (European standard EN 335-2013) at the same levels of performance as tropical wood.

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