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A study was conducted to determine if there is a significant variation in moisture content and specific gravity of sweetgum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) within the state of Louisiana. Sweetgum was chosen because it can be found on a variety of sites and is an important hardwood pulp species. This information was sought because of its value to the business of buying wood by weight rather than by volume measure, and because moisture content and specific gravity are the main factors causing variation in the weight of wood. Samples were taken with an increment borer from three different sites— hilltop, slope and bottomland- at three geographical locations within the state and during each of the four seasons. Moisture content as a percentage of oven-dry weight was determined for each of 900 samples, but specific gravity was determined by the maximum moisture content method only for samples obtained in January 1968.

A review of pertinent literature indicates that most species of deciduous trees follow a definite seasonal pattern of moisture variation that is repeated each succeeding year. It was found in this study that the moisture content of standing sweetgum trees varies considerably from season to season.

There was a significant variation in moisture content between locations, but this variation was small and did not follow a definite geographic trend. The moisture content varied appreciably between sites at various times of the year, but when other variables were held constant the difference in moisture content between sites was not significant.

The average specific gravity varied only a little with geographic location, but it was negatively correlated with the moisture content of the trees.

The study indicated that the use of different scaling factors for each season of the year is desirable.