BLUE CREEK DAIRY FARM

Juniper Posts

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Juniper fence posts arrived!
For our new fencing project we decided to get Juniper posts out of Eastern Oregon. Being certified Organic, we cannot use pressure treated wood. Popular alternatives include metal posts and cedar fence posts. While stationed in Astoria, we came across some peeled Juniper posts and were intrigued. We did research and found that Oregon State released a 1985 report on a fencepost test farm established in 1928 in Corvallis, Oregon. The most durable untreated wood post was Osage-Orange with no failures during the testing period. Yet, next to that was Western Juniper with 16 out of 25 posts still in service after 55 years. Of those 25 posts, 14 were round and 11 were split...the report does not specify what type of posts were in the remaining 16, but I would guess it would include the round ones and the split ones were the most likely to fail early. Although, “failing early” still meant an average life of 23 years which was about the same or slightly better than split Western Red Cedar. This study was also in an area that receives about 43 inches of rain a year and had acidic soil with a pH of 5.4. We expect the posts to last a long time in our climate with 20 inches of rain and a pH of 6.8. Most people would agree that doing fencing right the first time is best, because it is labor and capital intensive. We hope to not have to do much with our posts as we move forward, and mainly have to focus on wire repair and brush clearing.

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There was a company in Oregon doing peeled Juniper posts, but they went out of business last year. So, we had to find posts with the bark on. Enter the draw knife and an excellent upper body workout! The bark actually peels off pretty easy, it is just maneuvering around knots on the bigger posts that takes time. By taking the bark off we can extend the life of the posts. The bark would degrade quickly and hold moisture, rot and fungus near the wood.

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Virginia decided to spread the Juniper bark on some wormwood along the fence to see if it would suppress it. We will see if the experiment works!
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