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Building material trees

 
Brad Cloutier
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I'm looking to find out what trees/shrubs are good for building garden helps such as arbors, trellises, stakes and such. Basically, characteristics such as long, thin but strong. I know bamboo is good.

Also, i keep seeing in English videos the use of Hazel for designing fences and such. Is this the same as witch hazel or more like the hazelnut bush/tree?

Thanks for your input guys!
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Witch hazel is an American and Asian tree, so most European literature is referring to hazelnut. Uses for the wood might be similar, though, as they have a similar habit.
Pliability and durability seem to be what you're after. And sustainability. Any raw wood, or bamboo, structure outdoors will eventually rot and/or break from brittleness. The key to designing through time is to ensure that the material needed to replace it will have grown up during the service life of the item. Easy with bamboo. Likely with most of what we might call "coppice trees"....things that sprout readily from stumps like hazel, willow, ash, etc.
There are a few other hints which can improve the workability and durability of the sticks. Peel the bark off them. Soak them in water for a few weeks.....this will leach out sugars and starches and make the wood less attractive to insects. (This applies to bamboo, too) It can also make them more bendable. Consider attaching them to metal or other stakes in the ground....ground contact is almost always the first point of decay. Or at least char the in-ground portion of the poles, or use a durable species (locust, cedar, etc.) for in-ground poles.
 
Brad Cloutier
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Thanks for the good info Alder!
 
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