Specialist paulownia wood suppliers
Paulownia NZ is owned and operated by Graham and Tess Smith. All our paulownia is grown and milled on our small dairy farm, in the Wharepuhunga district, south east of Te Awamutu.
Our first paulownia trees were planted in 1992 and our first timber was milled in 2010. Today we have around 500 trees, planted around our dairy paddocks.
Growing trees amongst livestock is hugely beneficial for the environment. Known as agroforestry, it’s a land use system that balances productivity with environmental enhancement and protection.
Because tree roots go deeper into the soil, they are able to access more nutrients and water than many farmed crops, reducing soil degradation and erosion. Research at the University of Guelph in Canada has shown that agroforestry reduced farmland nitrogen losses by 50 per cent, compared to conventional farming methods.*
The presence of trees has other benefits as well, helping to stabilise drainage, enhance the natural landscape, improve animal welfare and, in some cases, increase farm productivity.
Protecting our land is important to us
We keep our dairy farm small – we milk just 78 cows – because this enables us to keep a watchful eye on the environmental effects of our farming. We’re proud that the Mangatutu Stream, which runs through our property, is one of the top two ‘clean streams’ in the Waikato, and home to hundreds of trout.
We plant around 80 to 100 paulownia trees every year, ensuring a continual supply of timber. Because paulownia is one of the fastest growing trees in the world (capable of growing up to six metres a year!), the trees require twice-yearly pruning, in order to produce the high quality, knot-free timber we are known for.
If you’d like to find out more about our farm, check out this episode of Country Calendar – we were featured on the show on 18 February 2018.
Awards and recognition
We were the 2015 winners of the New Zealand Landcare Trust Award for Innovation in Farm Forestry and the 2013 winners of the Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award.
We are members of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association.