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The Durability of Untreated Oak Posts in the Southwest

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This paper gives the results of investigations on the durability of three species of western oaks when used untreated as fence posts. The studies were conducted in Arizona and New Mexico at elevations of 4,500 to 9,000 feet and on fences ranging in age from 5 to 60 years old. Special attention was given to the durability of green, unpeeled oak posts under actual field tests. Sixty-six fences having a total of 19,368 posts were examined; 56 of these were made of Utah oak, known locally as "Gambel" oak, 6 were of Arizona oak and 4 fences were made of Emory oak. Interest was mainly in the "Gambel" oak posts since this oak was the most abundant and accessible in the regions where the fences were located. A study of the data obtained showed that the main factors governing the deterioration of the fences were the age of the fence, the species of oak used and the condition of the posts when put in the ground. The conclusion is reached that fences of sound, untreated "Gambel" oak posts, set green and unpeeled, should be serviceable for 30 to 40 years; that Arizona oak is less desirable for posts than "Gambel" oak bnt is superior to Emory oak; that posts seasoned or peeled are less durable than similar green, unpeeled ones; and that posts with "cat-faces," heart rots, knot holes or dead when cut rot faster than sound posts under similar environment.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication date: August 1, 1941

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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