Although durian fruit has been a staple food in Southeast Asia, it’s only now starting to slowly catch on in other parts of the world. The main reason for the slow entry into the international market stems from the fact that while durian fruit tastes amazing and is really good for you, it also has a peculiar scent that turns off many prospective diners and has even resulted in a few transport/shipping companies banning it. Despite the it interesting odor, it’s estimated that durian fruit is responsible for bringing approximately $17.9 million United States dollars into Malaysia each year.
While most durian fruit producers rely on the yearly fruit crop to finance their operations, the lumber from culled trees has the potential to be a solid source of income as well.
Even though there are many different species of durian trees, only a few grow fruit that’s suitable for human consumption. The trees currently found in durian fruit orchards in the countries where the fruit is popular represent carefully selected genetics. Ideally this means that each generation of trees should be hardier, easier to care for, and produce a higher yield than the generation before. Occasionally, fresh genetics from local wild durian trees will be added back into the genetic mix-up.
Although there are a few durian fruit producers who start their trees from seeds, most prefer to purchase young saplings that have been carefully grafted from highly productive trees. Even with started saplings, the producer must be patient since it takes a few years before the sapling will turn into a durian fruit bearing tree. Producers don’t expect to harvest the first crop of fruit before the tree reaches the age of four and in some cases, it’s seven years before the tree produces its first viable crop.
There comes a point when the producer has to look at their durian orchard and decide which older trees their going to cull in order to make room for younger trees. Once this happens the producer needs to decide the best way to get rid of the wood.
While I was unable to determine whether durian trees are suitable for firewood, but I did learn that they’re a pretty good choice for lumber, particularly if that lumber is used for making furniture or attractive wooden knick-knacks.
The typical cultivated durian tree has a trunk that’s about 40 long with a diameter of 1-2 meters. The heartwood of the tree ranges from a pretty shade of pinkish brown to a deep reddish brown. Meanwhile the younger, sapwood is a great deal lighter colored, though the exact shade varies from one durian species to the next. The lumber’s moisture content is about 12%. Seasoned durian lumber is in the SD4 strength group, while the unseasoned lumber is in the S4 strength group. The seasoned lumber is in the JD4 joint group and its stress grade is F11, F14, F17, F22.
While durian lumber lacks the strength and overall durability to be used for outdoor structures, it’s frequently used for indoor paneling, furniture construction, and joinery.
If you plan on using durian lumber for a project, don’t order anything until you’ve visually inspected the lumber. The biggest problem with using durian lumber is that there’s such a big variety in both color, grain, and texture. By viewing the lumber first, you ensure that the planks you’re getting are well suited to your project.
Durian. Queensland Government, Web. 22 Oct 2017. <https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/forestry/using-wood-and-its-benefits/wood-properties-of-timber-trees/durian>.
Durian tree and fruit. Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 Jul 1998. Web. 22 Oct 2017. <https://www.britannica.com/plant/durian>.
Schira, Jess. “How to grow the durian fruit you love.” Tempesta Media Content Showcase. Tempesta Media, 11 Oct 2017. Web. <http://showcase.tempestamedia.com/how-to-grow-the-durian-fruit-you-love-aid-24336/>.