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  Re: [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood
From: Adam Black <epiphyte1 at earthlink.net> on 2007.02.02 at 20:58:54(15213)
Hi Brian,

I am by far no expert on wood sealers/preservatives, but would imagine
that sealants that harden into a protective coating (polyurethane, etc)
would probably not continue to leach potentially toxic chemicals that
could be absorbed by the plants, but doubt they would really hold up to
a constantly moist environment. I would also think the sealant would
fill in the otherwise pourous surface of the wood, creating a much more
slick surface which would affect the epiphyte's ability to anchor
itself securely. I would think some "sealants" are actually oil-based
to repel water and should therefore be avoided. Wood preservatives that
are saturated into the wood most likely would not be good as well.

I agree that it would be best to stick with untreated wood that is
resistant to decay. Aside from the PVC covered with cork bark method
already mentioned, certain types of wood are very long-lasting in wet
conditions. Collected pieces of dead and weathered cypress and cedar
are readily available to me here in north Florida. I have cypress and
cedar branches and trunk sections covered in epiphytes under daily mist
that have not deteriorated in any noticable amount in at least eight
years. Pieces of waterlogged cypress found in the many rivers here are
very dense and naturally worn into beautiful contorted shapes.
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) from coastal South Florida is also a
good choice and can be found in neat weathered shapes but it is
difficult to find places to legally collect it, as most large stands
are in the few remaining undeveloped and protected coastal areas, such
as Everglades Nat'l Park and other protected areas. Osage orange
(Maclura pomifera) is also very resistant to deterioration if you can
deal with the vicious spines.

Adam

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