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In fact, Paulownia tomentosa or P. elongata (+ clone Shang Tong)is not an extensive energy plant. Of course,

Paulownia trunk, one year old

you can use this tree as an energy plant, too, i.e. use it for heating, because it promises huge growth; however, there may be some far more lucrative options for using paulownia.

As valuable for sport goods, such as surfboards, skis, snow boards, skate boards, etc., in building ships and machines, or wherever you need light and stable, flexible wood, paulownia is a popular raw material today.

Since in cultivating valuable timber larger diameters (30-50 cm) tend to be used, the volumes of 300-1,500 per hectare (depending on the growth) are rather low. The possible rotation period can range from 8 to 12 years.

Planting takes place in mid-April to mid-May with early young plants that are either “in vitro”, that is propagated as a cell culture or with cut roots, which seems to be especially interesting with larger plantings.

Suitable areas for cultivating paulownia can be found in Europe in mild, low-lying locations, wine regions or Mediterranean areas. Rainfall from 550-650 mm are necessary for this plant, especially during growth.
In planting, the paulownia roots into even deeper soil levels and, thus, it is well prepared for longer dry periods.
Locations with late frosts or very short seasons are unsuitable for primary timber production, as the wood matures relatively late, which often results in frost damages at the tops of the trees in rough locations. This is not a problem for producing energy wood, but it is quite an obstacle in planting paulownia as primary timber.
Waterlogged or very heavy soils are unfavorable, too.

We are currently working through partner companies on trying out even better frost-resistant varieties (test areas in Germany) to be also able to recommend planting paulownia away from the very temperate climates.

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© - Reinhard Sperr (2008 – 2017)