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I've got some grape vines that I need to re-build a badly designed trellis around. Im considering using some felled timber from my back yard. The advantage is that I could use much larger, cheaper posts than I could get from the store , as big as 8x8 or 10x10. The main disadvantage seems to be that it's not treated, and so ground contact is obviously detrimental. In general does this seem remotely possible? Should I treat the wood with some type of stain? It seems unlikely any stain would penetrate enough to provide real protection for ground contact, but I only have experience with simple combo stain/sealant mixes, which I tend to use for aesthetic medium-term protection.

Or do I even need to treat it? Would a 8x8 or 10x0 log last a good amount of time in the ground supporting grape vines without treatment?

FWIW - I know there are lots of other options for the trellis (mainly wire) but those options all have downsides as well so Im trying to specifically evaluate whether this option is possible, and how robust it would be.

  • What kind of wood? – Jean-Paul Calderone Nov 16 '17 at 14:32
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    Sure get some paint on treatment, pour it in a bucket and stand the post in the bucket it will totally saturate the end better than painting. My grandfather's barn was built from poles they used cresode back then but stood the poles in drums and the barn stood for over 70 years. – Ed Beal Nov 16 '17 at 16:00
  • What species? Pine will age a lot differently than ceder, for example. – Dan Mantyla Dec 22 '17 at 19:36
  • It's yellow pine. Just stuff I cut down in my back yard. – The Shoe Shiner Dec 22 '17 at 19:41
  • There's a Japanese process of charring the wood surface to provide weather- and bug-proofing. It's typically used with cedar, which is naturally resistant, anyway. You can apply a propane torch just long enough to char the surface but not so long that the wood catches fire (still green wood should hold up well to the treatment). I have no idea of the extent this might help to delay rotting, though, if you bury the wood in the ground. If you are going to coat the wood, charring might even improve absorption. – fixer1234 Feb 27 '18 at 21:05
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If the timber is recently felled, it is still too wet for any treatment to have any positive effect. However, even without treatment these posts, because of their size, will give many good years of life as trellis supports.

  • I would disagree, lumber is dropped and cut and treated within 2 weeks in many cases, some treatment will extend the life of the posts in contact with earth. – Ed Beal Feb 27 '18 at 14:41
  • @EdBeal, isn't that treatment done under high pressure? – fixer1234 Feb 27 '18 at 20:50
  • It depends on the type some is sprayed , some is heat and some is pressure, depending on the chemicals used. We use a lot of poles that are soaked on end standing for fence posts that is considered pressure treated. – Ed Beal Feb 27 '18 at 21:01
  • It depends on the type some is sprayed , some is heat and some is pressure, depending on the chemicals used. We use a lot of poles that are soaked on end standing for fence posts that is considered pressure treated. – Ed Beal Feb 27 '18 at 21:01
  • The last sentence covers it. Even if you get each face rotting two inches deep, that still leaves a 4x4 completely unrotted post (and by the time the rot is two inches deep, it will proceed very slowly because oxygen can't get in.) – Martin Bonner Nov 30 '18 at 9:16

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