Why acacia wood?
Sustainable – Ecological – European – Quality wood
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. Some, because of its high natural durability, lend it the name of 'European TECK'.
Since the 17th century this tree has been introduced and exploited in Europe where it grows in a temperate climate at low altitudes and with well ventilated soil.
Acacia, this hard and durable wood, has an advantage over its European native competitors such as oak and chestnut. Acacias durability is much higher (clic 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 specie 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 transport costs to Europe. Especially in the current situation, where environmental issues accentuates the relevance of using local woods. It is obvious why some people call it 'European,TECK'.
Therefore the acacia wood is widely appreciated for outdoor uses. When 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, 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 benefits:
Participating in biodiversity
Being a very honey-rich specie, the acacia plays an important role in the animal biodiversity. Indeed, this specie is very popular with the hymenoptera family insects (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, it enriches the soil by fixing atmospheric nitrogen 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 specie in the global warming context.
In addition, the acacia wood has the particularity of fixing the soil, thanks to its powerful lateral root system which can extend up to 15 meters radius thus it participates in anchoring the ground.
In a natural way, acacia regenerates very easy by 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 objectives pursued.
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 specie 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 a level IV sustainability (European standard EN 335-2013) at the same levels of performance as tropical wood.