What is a softwood?

Trees fall into two categories softwood and hardwood.  Hardwood trees are deciduous trees such as Oak,  Oak Beech and Ash provide building material. One example of this is Oak Cladding from https://www.timberpride.co.uk/oak-products/cladding/.  However this is not to say that softwoods are completely useless for this kind of purpose.  In fact in some cases certain free-standing structures such as log cabins for example use  softwood as the actual preferred material.

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It is wrong to think of softwoods as being soft in the traditional sense.  This is simply not the case. For example balsa wood, mainly used in modelling, is very brittle but it is classed as a hardwood.  The classification does not come from the hardness of the wood itself but how they behave in nature.  Hardwood deciduous trees shed their leaves in Autumn.  Softwoods are evergreens such as pine and conifer and cedar.  These would still offer the perfect building material opportunity and I they are widely used as well.

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The other main difference is that softwoods do not use flowers to pollinate themselves and to propagate their line.  Instead they rely on the dropping of such things as acorns which are then pressed into the ground.  From an evolutionary point of view this rather limits the softwoods to dedicated areas; it is why they have only ever really established themselves properly in northern Europe and the northern hemisphere itself.  Because the hardwoods used pollinating insects to spread themselves out their numbers meant that they have become the dominant species.

However where softwoods do grow they grow quickly and in great abundance.

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