Termites are one of the most destructive, persistent and downright annoying pests likely to invade your home, and if a termite colony sets your property in its crosshairs, a wooden fence is likely to be its first victim. If you're installing a new wooden fence around the boundaries of your land, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure that, from the first moment it is planted in the ground, your fence can defend itself against termite attack.
Choosing the right wood
No two woods are created equal, and each variety has its own level of natural resistance to termite attack. Choosing a wood that is naturally resistant to termites before it is treated is an excellent way to maximise your fence's defences — some excellent woods for this purpose include:
- Red or yellow cedar: These woods naturally contain pungent oils that discourage termite boring but are quite soft and easily dented.
- Redwood: Redwood possesses excellent anti-termite characteristics, but it can be expensive and is perhaps too fragile to provide much in the way of home security.
- Jarrah: An excellent hardwood native to Australia, jarrah is both resistant to termite attack and incredibly robust. Finding jarrah suitably cut for building fences may be difficult, however.
- Cypress: Relatively strong and less expensive than other options, you may find that cypress rots easily without proper anti-fungal treatments.
Whichever wood you choose for your fence, it is important to choose heartwood (cut from the centre of the trunk) over softwood (cut from the outer edges of the trunk). Natural anti-termite chemicals are more heavily concentrated in the heartwood.
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Choosing the right wood treatment
Choosing pre-treated fence wood has a number of benefits. As well as protecting the wood from termites and other wood-boring insects, these treatments often offer increased resistance to fungal rot, as well as superior weathering characteristics to prevent your fence peeling and turning grey in the intense sunshine of summer.
Pressure-treated wood is placed in a high-pressure chamber to force preservative chemicals deep into the heart of the wood and provide uniform, long-lasting protection. Traditionally, a copper-arsenic solution has been used for these purposes, but this is now banned due to its carcinogenic properties; good alternatives include Alkaline Copper Quaternary or Copper Boron Azole. Make sure your wood is stamped and properly certified before buying.
Pressure-treated wood does contain fungicidal chemicals that can also act as mild herbicides. If you prefer to be more organic in your methods, you might like to choose an oil-treated wood. Wood can be oil-treated before sale, or you can do it yourself, and a wide variety of proprietary blends are available. Choosing a trusted anti-termite brand and applying it well should protect your fences from all but the most determined termite invasions. Make sure that whatever you choose does not contain the chemical pentachlorophenol, which emits a potent herbicidal vapour that will kill nearby plants and grasses.Share