Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

How Long Will Cedar Fence Posts Last?

12/17/2008 12:00:00 AM

Tags: fence posts, cedar

If I use cedar trees that I cut myself, is there anything I need to do to them before I can use them as posts for my fence? Also, how long will they last before they rot away?

There are a number of kinds of cedar. Eastern red cedar, found from east of Colorado and into much of New England is actually a juniper, a member of the cypress family. True cedars are members of the pine family.

Junipers are tough, resilient trees that make excellent fence posts, either whole or split. You do not need to treat or debark the posts. As to how long they will last, that depends on how moist the soil conditions are and the amount of freezing and thawing the posts will endure over their lifetime. In the Midwest, Eastern red cedar fence posts have been found to last for decades.

Here is the life expectancy (in years) of some wood fence posts, from the Virginia Cooperative Extension:

Black locust, 20 to 25

Hickory, 5 to 7

Honeylocust, 3 to 7

Osage orange, 20 to 25

Red cedar, 15 to 20

Red oak, 5  

Southern pine, 3 to 7

Sweetgum, 3 to 6

White oak, 10

Yellow-poplar (Tulip tree), 3 to 7

— Heidi Hunt, assistant editor



Content Tools








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here