Fruit Wood Trees - Tree Plantation Timber and Veneer

Fruit wood rivals prices paid for endangered tropical wood. Timber investors can now grow a rare and valuable timber right here in North America.

This fine-grained, elegant fruit wood is held in high regard around the world. Most fruit and ornamental blossom trees around belong to the Rose Family (Rosaceae) and fruitwood is no exception. Pyrus fruit wood grows in Europe and Western Asia. The so-called common fruit wood also can be found in the United States, but most of the commercial timber and veneer is from Germany, Switzerland and France - in limited quantities of course.

Common Fruit Wood

Common fruit wood grows wild in Europe and Asia, but not in the “New World,” according to the book Encyclopedia of Trees by Hugh Johnson. “The common fruitwood from which all the orchard varieties originated in Southern Europe. It is one of the longest-lived of the fruit trees growing to a remarkable size.” Johnson writes there are records of fruitwood trees growing 60 feet tall and more, with diameters over 16 feet. The common fruit wood is also known as the “fruitwood of French provincial furniture" revered for the light brown color that glows in old armoires and dressers.

blossoming fruit tree
fruit wood bark fruit wood

Fruit Wood

Today, the rarity of fruit wood commands prices paid for tropical hardwoods. The prices for dimensional lumber, particularly clear wood are among some of the highest paid for any type of wood in the industry. Fruit wood uses - includes nominal sizes.

  • 4 x 4; 6 x 6; and 8 x 8 timber
  • 1 x 2; 1 x 4; 1 x 6; 1 x 8; 1 x 10; 1 x 12; dimensional lumber
  • Fruit wood Hardwood flooring
  • Fruit wood Furniture
  • Finely crafted woodwork products
  • Fruit wood Cabinets
  • Wood pellets - (typically sourced from wood waste trimmings and small branches)

Fruit Wood Tree Seedlings

Fruit wood tree seedlings are the first step to earning profits that rival those of rare tropical hardwoods. Once transplanted, fruitwood continues to grow vertically, and topping the tree at a 20-foot height will quickly build trunk caliper. Spraying blossoms with a mist nitrogen spray will instantly freeze and kill blossoms preventing fruit set and development.

Common Fruit Wood Plantations

Common fruit wood is another forgotten wood that is in high demand worldwide due to its scarcity.

Plantation Costs

Fruit wood requires specific growing conditions similar to those needed for most fruit and nut orchards. The same watering techniques including spray and drip can be used throughout the plantation. Fruit trees are fertilized, as they would be in a normal orchard. Pesticides may be needed when the trees flower, but if fruit is not a concern then this can be eliminated except in the case of woodborers. Choosing non-fruiting varieties eliminates the need for spraying as well. Fruit trees are planted close together and thinned in year 10. Use transplants rather than seeds to shorten time to harvest. Transplant costs range from $3,000 to $6,000 per acre dependent on the supplier in your area.

Calculate the number of trees per acre and spacing between Fruit Wood trees

Note* It is important to transplant seedlings that are at least 5 years old and 6 feet tall so they will survive the first and second winters. It is also advisable to use tree shelters or security fencing to protect young tree seedlings from grazing deer. Taller tree seedlings over 10 feet will eliminate the need for shelters and fencing.

Note* Spring is the best time to transplant fruit wood tree seedlings. Plant seedlings at the same depth as they grew in the nursery – a line around the stem should distinguish the darker stem from the lighter root and soil should be at that level.

Fruit Wood Pruning

Selective pruning will increase the future value of a fruit wood sawlog. Begin once the tree reaches a height of 10 feet or when the base caliper is between 1.5 and 2 inches.

Note* It is suggested that you top each tree to halt upward growth and promote diameter growth. Once the tree has been topped, diameter growth should increase by 30% per annum.

Common Fruitwood - More Valuable Than Teak

The following comments where collected from a national wood products discussion forum using fruitwood in the United States.

Comment from contributor A:

"Fruit wood is truly one of the most elegant woods available in the world," said Rick Banas, vice president of Interwood Forest Products, Shelbyville, IN. "Its warm tones, fine grain structure and pleasing finish have made it a favorite of architects all over the world. Although fruit wood has been widely used by the European furniture industry, it has never found its way into the U.S. market with the exception of some exclusive custom pieces,” said Banas. Figured, as well as non-figured fruit wood, have been equally in demand in the United States for architectural markets, as well as aircraft and yacht interiors.

Comment from contributor B:

Myles Gilmer, owner of Gilmer Wood Products of Portland, OR, said uses for fruit wood run the gamut. “It is used for architectural uses, such as paneling, and in lots of furniture and cabinetry. It’s very popular with carvers and wood turners.” Gilmer said most of the wood is steamed, which brings out a pleasing pastel reddish-pink color and relieves stresses within the wood so that it dries flat. “Without steaming, it is a pale flesh color, and fruit wood has long been used by sculptors trying to mimic the color of flesh.” Gilmer said the wood stains very well and is sometimes ebonized for musical instruments. "Fruit wood can yield wood with fantastic figures such as a curl-like fiddleback and a very distinctive mottled roe. The curl figure is popular for use in violins, guitars and recorders. Fruit wood is a nice looking wood that takes a dynamite polish. Fine grained, it has a wonderfully tactile feel."

Comment from contributor C:

Richard Hearne, owner/president of Hearne Hardwoods Inc., Oxford, PA, makes three to four trips to Europe each year in search of fruit wood. While the wood is known by many as common fruit wood, much of what he sells comes from Germany. Ninety-five percent of the common fruit wood he sells is steamed “Because we want to match new wood with old and the old veneer is typically steamed, we try to carry steamed lumber." In North America, the demand for most fruit wood is for upscale architectural millwork applications, such as reception areas in financial institutions or private offices. Many in Europe consider fruit wood to be the finest hardwood. Hearne said it is among the most expensive hardwoods. "It is a typical fruit wood, so it is hard and dense, with properties similar to rosewood.” One factor driving the price of fruit wood, Hearne adds, is the waste involved in processing the material. Another is the demand, “it only comes in short lengths."

swiss pearwood

Invest In A Fruit Wood Tree Plantation

Depending on market conditions, Common fruit wood earns gross revenue between $150,000 and $300,000 per acre in year 40 and double that in year 60. In year 10, thinned trees may be sold and/or converted into high BTU value wood pellets.