Definition of softwood in English:



  • 1The wood from a conifer (such as pine, fir, or spruce) as distinguished from that of broadleaved trees.

    • ‘Securing enough fibre for an Oriented Strand Board mill that will require over 900 000 cubic metres per year of hardwood and softwood is no easy task.’
    • ‘By 2016 the supply of softwood in Scotland will exceed 8.4 million cubic metres - a doubling of the existing harvest.’
    • ‘If the stairs are to be left exposed, select a clear hardwood or rugged softwood for both the treads and the risers - oak, cherry, and clear fir are common choices.’
    • ‘All types of lumber, both hardwood and softwood, are sorted by quality during the milling process.’
    • ‘The post and timber fence is not constructed in plywood, it is softwood.’
    • ‘All bass necks are made from 4 x 2 planed softwood and should be painted black on one side and a sort-of vaguely off-white on the other.’
    • ‘The best decking is made of hardwood or pressure-treated softwood.’
    • ‘We import 33 percent of the softwood we consume, much of it from old-growth forests in Canada and Siberia.’
    • ‘If you choose to use new stock from the lumber yard, both hardwoods and softwood are good choices.’
    • ‘You take softwood, dose it with industrial vinegar and give it the performance of a typical hardwood.’
    • ‘There are a number of products we need to make in both softwood and hardwoods, which complicates things, and makes cost control difficult.’
    • ‘The two basic categories of wood used most often in woodworking projects are hardwood and softwood.’
    • ‘British practice was to use softwood for the sleepers as it was easily obtained; it had to be treated with creosote or a similar preservative, but abroad hardwood was more commonly used, with a longer life and no preservative required.’
    • ‘But America had abundant oak and softwood for hulls, tall timber for masts and spars - and resins to make critical naval stores like tar to protect standing rigging.’
    • ‘If made from softwood, vineyard posts must be chemically treated to stop wood-rotting fungi.’
    • ‘Thirty feet long, six feet wide in the beam, tapered at both bow and stern, it has a false keel of softwood that can easily be replaced if damaged in rough landings, a frequent occurrence.’
    • ‘Use seasoned hardwoods (elm, maple, oak) instead of softwoods (cedar, fir, pine) in woodburning stoves and fireplaces.’
    • ‘For floor construction the choice is between solid floors, which are timber through and through, and engineered floors, which have a top layer of hardwood mounted on cross laid softwood or on plywood.’
    • ‘It's not the best place to look for sawlogs, so we're trying to send the processor in first to make sawlogs where they can from both hardwood and softwood.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]A tree producing softwood.
      • ‘Instead, maintains Grams, we grow softwoods for short-term economic reasons, and import seven out of the eight million tonnes of timber used in construction annually.’
      • ‘My home in New Jersey was cleared of all trees in 1965… today it is replete with both hard- and softwoods as well as evergreens, thanks to family endeavors throughout the area.’
      • ‘We can get large softwoods out in the riparian zones or in mixed stands that you cannot reach with a harvester and a porter.’
      • ‘And paper needs trees with strong fibres - cold-weather softwoods do best.’
      • ‘Plantations of introduced softwoods, particularly Radiata Pine, were established, often on abandoned agricultural land.’
      • ‘PCP was widely used in the timber industry for years as a cheap treatment for sapstain, a fungal infection commonly found in softwoods such as pine.’
      • ‘Mature larvae of the hide beetle, Dermestes maculatus, have the habit of boring into various hard surfaces to pupate, usually preferring softwoods.’
      • ‘Soil and climate were ideally suited for the faster growing softwoods and there was a national demand for more timber.’
      • ‘In the areas where, as a result of selecting other more valuable softwoods, fir was encouraged to increase, all practicable efforts should be made to reduce the amount of fir.’
      • ‘Most are tall, nondeciduous softwoods with pale smooth bark and foliage that's light, sparse, and usually blue-green.’
      • ‘Among the white rot decay fungi, T. versicolor was not very aggressive against any of the softwoods, but produced some weight loss in pine and Metasequoia.’
      • ‘O'Connor wanted the club to purchase another 28 acres of dense forest, thick with softwoods and pines.’
      • ‘The feller buncher operator makes separate sorts for softwood and the major hardwood species, which are each chipped separately.’
      • ‘The Kumaun and Garhwal hills of present-day Uttar Pradesh contain the best stands of softwood in the subcontinent.’
      • ‘Where there are mature softwoods mixed in these patches, they selectively harvest them, while trying to protect the younger regen.’
      • ‘Two feller buncher teams remain on duty, but these chiefly harvest hardwoods as well as very small diameter softwoods.’
      • ‘In these areas, most of the forest softwood is now dead, creating openings in the once-dense evergreen canopy.’
      • ‘‘Our mandate was to leave about 10 per cent of the softwoods and as much hardwood as possible in what was primarily mixed wood stands,’ explains Buckingham.’
      • ‘Luckily for the forest industry, the country can grow hardwoods and softwoods in equal quantities and on a relatively short rotation basis.’
      • ‘In the Sikhote Alin, a forested range north of Vladivostok, I found mixed hard and softwood, rather small timber.’
  • 2(in gardening) young pliable growth on shrubs and other plants from which cuttings can be taken.

    [as modifier] ‘keep softwood cuttings covered until well rooted’
    • ‘Or you can root 4-to 6-inch softwood cuttings taken in summer and fall.’
    • ‘While blueberries are propagated commercially by tissue culture, they can be propagated by hardwood or softwood cuttings.’
    • ‘Having said that, they are not long-lived plants, lasting perhaps five or six years in cultivation before becoming excessively woody, so a few softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer would be a wise precaution.’
    • ‘These cuttings are then treated in the same way as softwood cuttings and can be taken from mid-summer to early autumn.’
    • ‘The easiest way to propagate lavender is to take softwood cuttings in the Spring.’
    • ‘If you are interested in softwood cuttings, you'll find a very informative article at’
    • ‘The best time to take cuttings is during the softwood stage in spring or early summer, when stems are still green and pliable.’
    • ‘Unlike softwood cuttings of deciduous plants, where you only take tip cuttings from the ends of the branches, that rule does not apply to hardwood cuttings of deciduous plants.’
    • ‘I am wondering if elms respond to softwood cuttings, as nobody has ever seen a single seed or seedling from this tree, and if such a sprout could be successfully medicated to eliminate the disease.’
    • ‘Hydrangea, butterfly bush, and many other handsome deciduous shrubs can be propagated easily and quickly from softwood cuttings - pieces of stem that are neither too new nor woody.’
    • ‘Suitable materials for composting include annual weeds that haven't formed seed, leafy softwood prunings, old bedding plants, autumn leaves and grass clippings.’