The Humble Beginnings of Teak

The teak tree is a mighty specimen. When they are fully grown, they can reach a height of up to over 100 ft. and have a diameter of 60-70 inches.When fully grown adult trees, they will also possess the many amazing qualities that teak trees are known for: a deep, rich color; highly workable but sturdy wood; resistance to rot, termites, fungus and fire. The teak tree certainly is noble and great. But like all great things, teak has humble beginnings. Everything must start from an innocent, infantile state, and teak iscertainly no different.

Before a teak seed can be grown, the proper environment must be chosen. Teak is a tropical tree, and as such can only grow in certain climates. Being native to southeast Asia, teak thrives in environments that mimic that region’s conditions. Central America is one of the prime locations for teak plantations. Countries such as Panama have become key centers for teak cultivation. Teak requires specific conditions, such as receiving 120-250centimeters of rainfall every year. Teak trees also require a dry season of 3-5 months. Panama can provide both of these for teak trees, again making it an ideal location for a teak plantation. Soil conditions, although they may be altered by fertilizers and other agricultural aids, must be similar enough to the teak’s natural habitat to allow for proper growth.

One major factor that contributes to teak’s growth is sunlight. A proper mix must be found between too much and too little. Too much, and the saplings will fry and dry out. Too little, and they will lack the necessary vitamins that the sun provides them. It is key that a proper balance be struck. To achieve this, the teak saplings are placed under a canopy, which is covered with a mesh net. This allows just the right amount of sunlight to get in.

The soil quality is another major factor in growing strong, sturdy teak. It is important that the proper mix of fertilizers, manure and other elements be used in correct proportions to ensure proper growth of the teak trees. The canopy, mentioned earlier, is also essential in helping to shape the teak saplings. For a teak tree to be strong, it needs to grow straight. This is why the canopy, along with lattices, are essential for a young teak sapling. Having a tree line near the nursery is also important, as the tree line will reduce the impact of wind on the seedlings, allowing them to grow strong and straight.

Because teak is such a valuable wood, it is also important that a teak nursery or plantation have proper security on-site to monitor and protect the teak. Teak grown through Teak Hardwoods employs high quality surveillance and protection to ensure the safety of the trees. At the Panama plantation, a professional security team is kept on-site to monitor the teak. At the Nicaragua nursery, the teak saplings are located inside of a secure resort, with front gate security and roaming patrols. The saplings at the Nicaragua nursery are also individually monitored using advanced RFID technology. This technology allows each individual teak tree to be tracked, from its humble beginnings all the way until it is a fully grown tree.

Once the saplings have grown strong enough, typically after 1-2 years, they can be transplanted to a new location. This new location will see the saplings spaced farther apart from each other, allowing the roots to spread and the trees to grow large. The teak will see much growth in this period, going from tiny saplings, all the way up to the massive teak trees they will one day become.

Thinnings are also frequently done on the teak trees, typically every few years. This ensures that the teak trees are diverting all of their energies to growing their main structure, not branches, and removes trees that are not growing straight. Thinnings allow the teak trees to reach their maximum height and size. Any quality teak plantation will incorporate thinnings into their teak growing process. It also common to clear the plantation of underbrush and other forest debris which might harm the teak. This is done occasionally, and adds another layer of care to allowing these mighty trees to reach their full potential.

It truly is amazing how something as mighty as a teak tree can start from something as small as a mere seed. But all great things have humble beginnings, and the teak tree certainly is no exception.

If you’d be interested in seeing a real life teak plantation, tours are available. Use the “Contact Us” button below to inquire about how you can tour a teak plantation. Or, if you’d prefer to see the more mature teak trees, tours of a mature teak plantation are available as well.