Eastern Red Cedar for Buried Posts
From contributor G:
I made some raise beds from green DF, after my wife purchased some graded lumber and built herself one. After four years we moved the beds. The graded lumber was almost totally gone. The green DF still looked good. I don't know why it held up better, but one difference is the DF was green at the start. There is an old saying you should build your boat from green wood because the wood will last longer. Many commercial fishing boats are coated on the inside regularly with saltwater to protect the wood.
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I wonder if the difference was heartwood versus sapwood.
From contributor A:
Iíve used ERC several times for ground contact corner posts in buildings. I have experienced no problems. Make sure to remove all of the white that you can.
From contributor X:
My experience has been that peeled posts will rot but all-heart posts will not rot. If you ask ten ranchers here if they like ERC for fence posts half will say no half will say yes. When you ask the ones that don't like it if they used peeled posts or sawn all-heart posts they scratch their head a second and usually you don't even have to say anything else, you see the light bulb come on. ERC sap has no resistance to rot and once the rot starts in the sap for whatever reason it continues into the heart unabated. But with all heart the rot does not gain a foothold for some reason.
I did see a situation where a guy down the highway a piece had installed all-heart posts that rotted out in about five years, but it was in a flood plain so it would stay wet half the year then go to the other extreme of drought. I suspect this opened up the wood fibers to the point it could not resist the various fungi etc. and succumbed. Otherwise, if allowed to drain properly the wood will last many years. They will not last nearly as long as Bois d' Arc but what does. There are Bois d' Arc fence posts here 100 years old and better.
From contributor K:
I use ERC all the time for post and have some that have been in the ground for 40 years. The best trick is to char the end of the post and pack them in gravel. Do not use concrete to put them in. Crushed stone works great. Removing the white sap wood is a good thing but most good 6x6 posts will be all heart, the bottom part of the post anyway.
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