2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Fast-Growing Tree Produces Lumber In Seven Years
John Garbini of Myrtle Creek, Oregon says the Empress tree offers tremendous income potential to landowners looking for a new money-making enterprise.
Garbini's company, Wonder Earth Partners, is the sole distributor of the Empress Splendor tree for Oregon, Northern California, Washington, Nevada and Montana.
He works with World Tree Technologies of Scottsdale, Arizona, who researched and created the hybrid through cloning. The Arizona company studied the 12 different existing Empress varieties and chose the two most hardy trees (the Fortuni and Elongota), splicing them together to create the hybrid they call the Empress Splendor.
"The Empress Splendor is the fastest growing hardwood tree in the world, growing four times faster than any other tree," she says. "When mature, they have roughly 24 to 36-in. dia. trunks, and are 50 to 60 feet tall. Some diameters as wide as 48-in. have been reported."
Garbini thinks Empress trees can fill the demand for sustainable forests, since they make reforestation far more economical and dramatically shorten harvest intervals. This spells profitability for landowners, he says.
"By planting one Empress tree, you can produce as much lumber - and pull as much carbon - as four poplar trees or six pine trees," he says. "The current market value of Empress wood is $3 a board foot. It's strong, lightweight and blond in color, and also doesn't absorb moisture or rot. Empress wood is popular with Australian sailboat builders and some U.S. furniture makers are also starting to use it. You can use it to make plywood that's 1/8 inch thinner than regular plywood, and still have the same structural strength."
The trees have beautiful, lavender cluster flowers and start blooming in their third year, for 6-9 weeks in the spring. The flowers are edible and have a vanilla-jasmine scent.
The leaves can get as big as 36 inches in diameter during the tree's first year, according to Burton. The older the tree gets, the smaller the leaves get, eventually becoming the size of a large man's hand. They provide excellent shade and windbreak, and the leaves decompose quickly in the fall.
The Empress Splendor is also bug and fire resistant, Garbini says. Deer, however, love the taste of the leaves.
The tree requires little watering because it pulls water from the air through its huge leaves. It also has a strong tri-tap root system that goes straight down to the water table.
These trees are hardy in 120 F to û10¦ F, and grow at elevations of sea level up to 6,500 feet. Garbini has two 25-ft. tall trees with 6-in. dia. trunks in his back yard, which were planted as 3-in. seedlings two years ago.
A package of 45 to 50 trees cost $12 per tree, 51 to 100 cost $8.95, 101 to 300 trees are $7.50, 500 to 700 trees are $6.50, and 1,000 or more are $6 each, (plus S&H).
"A 300-tree plantation on one acre works very well, with trees spaced 12-ft. apart. This should produce a minimum 30,000 board feet of lumber in its first harvest."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wonder Earth Partners, John Garbini, 949 Edies Lane, Myrtle Creek, Oregon 97457 (ph 541 863-7437 or 877 960-5969; john @wonderearthpartners.com; www. wonderearthpartners.com); or World Tree Technologies, Inc., Wendy Burton, 8355 E. Butherus Dr., Suite 1, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 (ph 888 693-8733 or 480 948-0188; email@example.com; www. worldtreetech.com).
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