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Container Materials: Wood

Garden Decor, GardenGlo Planters
Garden Decor, GardenGlo Planters


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Wood containers are a complement for plants and very simple to create. In fact, you do not need to be an experienced wood worker to construct these containers. When you compare wood with other materials, such as terracotta, stone, or metal, you find that wood is less expensive to purchase.

This container is unlike other materials because it is organic, but when it comes in direct contact with wet potting mix, it is quickly broken down by fungal and bacterial activity. This being said, there are two types of wood material available. Untreated softwood only lasts about a year while pressure treated softwood can last you up to 15 years. Certain wooden boxes have a metal or plastic lining on the inside to extend the life.

Extending the Life

There are many means in which you can extend the life of your wooden container. Softwood containers may need regular coatings of paint preservatives at the joints and seams to avoid water damage. Water damage can lead to wood rot and the eventual breakdown of your softwood tub. Even pressure treated wood would benefit from this extra coat of protection but make sure that the preservative paints are plant friendly.

Untreated wood will dry out and crack if it’s exposed in the sunlight for extended periods of times. Therefore, during winter months when the pot is empty, apply generous coatings of linseed oil on the outer surface. Regular coatings will protect the wood from cracking and enhance the natural wooden grain. It is also recommend that you coat the inside of the container with preservative to protect from contacting moist potting mix and eventual wood rot.