Locust Trees for fence postsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We live just outside Augusta, Michigan. Last week a high wind or several small tornados uprooted locust trees in my yard and my neighbors yards. Nearly all my fence lines got smashed and I will have to replace my fences (NOT covered by insurance). My neighbors are willing to let me cut up their down locust trees to use for fence posts. How should I prepare them? Just cut to length and use? Or do I need to stack them in a dry place before they will work?
-- Michael Livingston (email@example.com), November 03, 2001
I would advise you to cut them to length immediately.
Once locust trees dry, they are very hard to work with.
-- R. (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Yo need to let them cure or they may sprout and start growing. We had a local Church make a cross out of green Locust and in about 3 months it was growing limbs.
-- Mel Kelly (email@example.com), November 03, 2001.
Cut to length now when they are green, let dry however, before you split them for fence posts, each good sized diameter tree section will split into four posts with just a sledge and a splitting wedge.
Locust is dense and lasts almost forever, excellent for fence posts.
-- Annie Miller in SE OH (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Locust is also a great firewood, so don't waste those precious BTU filled drops after you cut your post lengths. Sorry about the fences. Glad you and your neighbors made it through the storm o.k.:)
-- gilly (email@example.com), November 03, 2001.
Locust post last longer if you do not set them "green". Let them dry out for the better part of a year, the bark will just fall away and they will be hardened off. I keep a rotating supply on hand so I have seaoned ones when I need them. Around here they only seem to last 12-14 years, they rot off at ground level. Have heard that charring the bottom ends will help; haven't tried it myself yet.
-- Walt K. (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
I've always heard that you should cut locust for posts in the wintertime - or at least when the sap is down. This is not an option for you of course, but it would be an interesting experiment to see if there is a difference in durability between those cut in the summer and those cut in the winter.
-- Neal M (email@example.com), November 05, 2001.
MICHAEL....IT WOULD BE BEST TO CUT THEM TO LENGTH AND LET THEM SEASON A BIT.[WINTER FELLING WOULD HAVE BEEN BEST BUT IF YOU HAVE HAD SOME FROSTS THE MOISTURE MIGHT HAVE GONE INTO THE ROOTS ALREADY]I HAVE THE RESULTS OF THREE STUDIES ON THE DURABILITY OF ALL WOODS AS FENCING MATERIALS.HERE ARE THE RESULTS 11 YEARS 15-25 YEARS 20+ YEARS. THE REASON FOR VARIATION IS DUE TO REGIONAL DIFFERENCES OF HUMIDITY AND SOIL CONDITIONS.
NOW AS RAILS IN A SPLIT RAIL FENCE THEY WOULD LAST A LOT LONGER.SEEING AS THEY ARE OFF THE GROUND. SOME ONE MENTIONED THAT THEY WOULD ROT OUT AT GROUND LEVEL. THIS WOULD BE TRUE.AS THE CONSTANT WETTING FROM SPLASHING RAIN WOULD KEEP THEM WET.I`D TREAT THEM WITH A BORATE SOLUTION BEFORE AND AFTER INSTALLING.THE WOOD HAS TO BE WET/GREEN FOR THE BORATES TO BE ADSORBED INTO THE LOGS.SO TREAT THEM AS YOU PEEL THEM.THEN AFTER RAINS A COUPLE TIMES A YEAR WALK AROUND WITH A SPRAYER AND GIVE THEM A BLAST OF THE BORATE SOLUTION.THIS COULD DOUBLE THEIR LIFE EXPECTANTCY.BORATES ARE SAFER THAN YOUR TABLE SALT. I USED TO RECOMMEND BURNING THE ENDS BUT HAVE HEARD THAT TESTS DONE ON THESE SHOWED NO BENEFIT.
HERE ARE SOME HOMEMADE BORATE SOLUTIONS I USE..
TIMM-BOR CLONE 1 1/2 LBS OF SOLUBAR[AN AGRICULTURAL CHEMICAL USED BY TOMATO AND PEPPER GROWERS.] 1 GALLON OF WATER.
TIMM-BOR CLONE 1.2 PARTS BORAX 1 PART BORIC ACID. THEN TAKE 1 1/2 LBS OF THIS AND DISSOLVE IN 1 GALLON OF WATER.
BORRA CARE CLONE[26% BORATE SOLUTION]
2 LITRE FOOD GRADE GLYCOL 1.12 LITRES BORAX 0.8 LITRES BORIC ACID
HEAT GENTLY TO BOIL OFF WATER .THIS REMOVES THE WATER OF CRYSTALIZATION IN THE BORAX.[BOIL AT 260 DEGREES ON A CANDY THERMOMETER]
NOW IF YOU HAVE OSAGE ORANGE AVAILABLE.THE TESTS SHOW EVEN LONGER LIFE
25-30 YEARS 35+ YEARS 66 YEARS WITH NO FAILURE
CORDially YOURS CORDWOODGUY
-- CORDWOODGUY (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 07, 2001.
This fence is most likely built by now- I have to add that I have recently taken old fence down on new property. The locust post present out lasted the treated posts hands down. I would guess some were 80 years old or better. The part in the ground was in better condition than above and we have high humidity here in Ky. It made me wonder why we bother with treated lumber and all it's chemicals when we havw a natural source. The only thing that will last longer is O-sage-orange (sp?) but who wants to mess with that nasty tree?
-- Karen Hughes (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.