Radiata pine

Scientific name

Pinus radiata. Family: Pinaceae

Other names

Monterey pine


  • Medium-sized tree.
  • Grows 40–50m.
  • Stem to 1m diameter.
  • Branches are usually large and spreading.
  • Pinecones are clearly visible on the tree.
  • Bark is grey to red-brown, thick, rough, deeply fissured and sheds in small flakes.


  • Native to a very small area of the west coast of North America.
  • Major plantation species throughout the world, especially in:
    • New Zealand
    • Chile
    • South Africa
    • Australia—grown in all states and the ACT but commercial plantings in Queensland are confined to the southern highlands.
  • Sawn timber is readily available.



  • Heartwood is reddish brown varying to shades of yellow.
  • Sapwood is usually pale yellow to white.


  • Generally straight.
  • Often pronounced difference in colour between earlywood and latewood results in a very distinctive figure (pattern) when back-sawn.


  • Engineering: preservative-impregnated poles for pole-frame construction, transmission poles and land poles.
  • Construction: general purpose softwood used as dressed, seasoned timber in general house framing, flooring, lining, joinery, mouldings and laminated beams; preservative-impregnated timber in sawn or round form in fencing, pergolas, landscaping, retaining walls, playground equipment; manufacture of Scrimber.
  • Decorative: furniture, outdoor furnishings (preservative-impregnated), plywood, joinery, turnery, carving.
  • Others: structural plywood, scaffold planks, wood wool, paper products, particleboard, and medium-density fibreboard.


  • Density: Australia—545kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.8m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne; New Zealand—490kg/m3, about 2m3/t.
  • Strength groups: Australia—S6 unseasoned, SD6 seasoned. New Zealand—S7 unseasoned, SD6 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: Australia—F4, F5, F7, F8 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned); New Zealand—F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2858—2008: Timber—Softwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: Australia—J4 unseasoned, JD4 seasoned; New Zealand—JD4 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 5.1% (tangential), 3.4% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.27% (tangential), 0.20% (radial)—these values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Lyctine susceptibility: sapwood is not susceptible to lyctine borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years).
  • Preservation: plantation trees have a high proportion of sapwood, which readily impregnates with commercial preservative. Heartwood can’t be adequately treated using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: to avoid distortion, framing sizes should be dried using high temperatures; boards may be air-dried or kiln-dried at conventional or high temperatures.
  • Hardness: soft (rated 5 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: machines, and turns well, but keep planer blades sharp to avoid surface ridging.
  • Fixing: nails may occasionally follow the growth rings; use nail guns for good results.
  • Gluing: glue can absorb differently between earlywood and latewood, but this rarely causes problems.
  • Finishing: readily accepts paint, stain and polish.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: pale yellow.
  • Heartwood: reddish brown, varying to shades of yellow.
  • Texture: non-uniform, consisting of alternating bands of earlywood and latewood; straight grain; knots usually present in constructional timber grades.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: clearly visible, latewood forms a dense dark band; false rings are rare; abrupt transition from earlywood to latewood.
  • Vessels: absent.
  • Resin canals: numerous, prominent as lines, on dressed longitudinal surfaces.
  • Parenchyma: absent.
  • Rays: fine, visible with a lens.

Other features

  • Odour: wood generally has a resinous odour.

Research and resources

  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2858-2008: Timber—Softwood —Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.