Many people wrongly assume that hardwood is hard and durable, and softwood is the exact opposite. But the truth is, these two terms do not speak to the density of a tree, but rather, its origins. Continue reading to learn what this means, and how softwoods differ from hardwood trees.
It is the method of reproduction a tree uses that defines whether it is a soft or hardwood. It does not have anything to do with the woods strength or density. You see, trees reproduce by producing seeds, which vary depending on the species of tree. Ultimately, these seeds are what distinguish softwoods from hardwoods.
Angiosperms and Gymnosperms
Hardwood trees are called angiosperms, and produce a seed that is covered in shell or skin. Hardwood trees are also known as deciduous trees, and include species such as Maple Trees, Apple Trees, Oak Trees, and Ash Trees. The most common forms of seeds produced by hardwood trees are nuts and fruit, but they also take on many other forms as well.
Softwood trees are called gymnosperms, and produce a seed that is not covered in a skin or shell. They commonly fall to the ground, such as pine cones and acorns. Softwood trees are also known as evergreen or conifer trees. Common species include Pine Trees, Hemlocks, Firs, and Spruces.
Evergreen and Deciduous Trees
Simply knowing the difference between deciduous trees and evergreen trees is enough to understand the difference between hardwoods and softwoods. For instance, softwood trees maintain their foliage all year long, while deciduous trees shed theirs for the winter. Also, softwoods have higher sap production than hardwoods. And as for wood density and strength, hardwoods are actual more dense and heavier, but not in all cases. If you have more questions about your hardwood and softwood trees, contact a local tree care company for professional advice you can trust.