Kenaf reaches 12-18 feet in 150 days, while southern pine must grow 14-17 years before it can be harvested. Kenaf also yields more fiber per acre than southern pine producing 5-10 tons of dry fiber per acre, or approximately 3-5 times as much as southern pine.
Kenaf has a fibrous outer bark and a very light but strong core. Both parts can be used for products ranging from fibers, twine, and rope to lightweight but durable construction materials and acoustic tiles.
Chipped, the light-colored and absorbent core makes excellent, long-lasting bedding for horses and other animals. It can also be used as litter, or it can be used for environmental cleanup and remediation. A cubic foot of kenaf can soak up more than a gallon of oil.
It is a tropical plant that thrives in heat and is drought tolerant to a certain extent, so it can be grown throughout the southern United States. Plant kenaf after the frost-free date, but the earlier the better. It can be planted through the end of June.
Kenaf should be grown in soils with high moisture holding capacity. This will produce the highest yields, but most soils and especially those with shallow water tables will produce adequate yields of planted by mid-May.
Kenaf is usually grown on 30 inch row spacings and the proper planting depth is 0.5 to 1 inch deep. Treflan is labeled for control of grassy weeds in kenaf.