January 3, 2023

Get to Know Your Hardwood Floors: Cultivating Hardwood Trees for Flooring

Wooden Logs with Forest on Background / Trunks of trees cut and stacked in the foreground, green forest in the background with sun rays

In 2023, the popularity of hardwood flooring is increasing among homeowners and remodelers.  High-quality hardwood floors are unmatched and valuable additions to any home. Top-tier hardwood planks allow homeowners to enjoy beautiful and long-lasting flooring for decades. While many people know the significant benefits these flooring options offers, not many are aware of what goes through before you can buy quality hardwood planks from the stores. In this three-part series, you will get to know the processes hardwood undergo before installing them as floors in your home.

Cultivating and planning are the first steps to having high-value hardwood. Hardwood tree plantations worldwide consider different factors and follow distinct strategies to ensure each timber achieves the sturdiness and appearance consumers need. From selecting the most suitable hardwood species to the preparation and seedling protection, there are several steps lumber farmers follow before planting their preferred hardwood.

Selecting Hardwood Species

Specie selection is the first essential step in all hardwood tree plantation processes. While choosing the species many consumers look for is beneficial, every farmer has to consider numerous factors. These considerations help provide quality wood and sustainable production. Here are some of the things plantations take into account when selecting a tree specie to plant.

  • Year-round growth
  • Wood production
  • Production of other materials besides timber
  • Provide habitat/food for birds and other animals
  • Affordability

Some hardwood species, like maple, produce sap that farmers can turn into syrup. While they’re perfect to use as floorboards, plantations will also have extra considerations to ensure they can collect good-quality syrup. In addition, the amount of lumber each tree can produce at a certain period is critical to estimate their production, availability, and sustainability.


Choosing the planting sites is essential for harvesting quality hardwood timber. When the location is unsuitable for the species farmers want to plant, they won’t flourish and run into many issues. Unlike other trees, hardwood species each have their preferred characteristics. Some thrive in wet plant sites, while others produce better wood in dry, southern places and can handle limited access to irrigation.

In the US, plantations can determine hardiness zones. These zones allow farmers which plants can handle the temperature and moisture changes within their area. Some hardwood species can grow in your zone if it usually grows in places with colder weather. One example would be farming for hardwood in Austin, TX. While The state has warmer weather year-round, they still plant cold-acclimated species as they’re easier to handle.

In addition to the weather, hardwood trees can survive in different soil conditions, from swamps to sandy deserts. Despite that, many species are particular with their exposure to water. In many cases, many hardwood species drown in planting sites with standing water for more than two weeks every year.

Site Preparation

Site preparation provides tree farms with a rotation-long effect for stand productivity. The requirements for preparing hardwood tree sites always depend on the vegetation present in the area. Depending on how plantations plan and complete their site preparations, they can give good or bad quality lumber. Different tree farms have varying opinions on preparing their plant sites. While others believe in clean cultivation and applying pre-emergent herbicides, others prefer minimum tillage practices.

The main purpose of site preparation is to ensure the tree farm’s initial survival and long-term growth. It also addresses some factors that can affect hardwood from thriving. Here are some of them.

  • Soil drainage
  • Competing vegetation
  •  Soil tillage
  • Weeds
  • Nutrition

With proper planning, completion, and good soil genetics, site preparations can help young stand of trees to high levels of growth, yield, and quality.  In addition, it can keep growing trees protected from weeds and pests that can affect their health.

Weed Control

Weeds are one of the competing vegetations present in any plant site. They’re also essential in determining the success of hardwood plantations. Unlike other vegetation, weeds grow at astonishing speeds and take all the nutrients the trees need. Many farmers prevent any of these issues by practicing clean cultivation. Removing all competing vegetation in the area and applying herbicides allow hardwood trees to flourish without dealing with weed invasion.

Other farmers who don’t like using chemicals do weed control by persistent tillage, landscape fabrics, and mulch. Landscape mats and mulch immediately control weeds around the trees and conserve soil moisture. Organic and fabric mulches also block light from reaching the ground to prevent new weeds from developing.

Farming Hardwood in Austin

Hardwood floors are timeless but costly home additions. While wood floorings are the most expensive option, hardwood flooring prices are higher due to their specific needs in cultivating and planting them. All quality hardwood lumber results from proper site preparation, selection, and planning. Although hardwood plantations go beyond their cultivation processes, it ensures that many species are available and meet industry standards.

Get to know more about your hardwood floors in Austin, TX, by contacting a professional from Kelly Hardwood Floors today!