Wood maintenance in the garden – Protect natural wood sustainably against weathering

Wood is a popular building material in the garden, but also fence slats and the handles of garden tools are mostly made of wood. Many gardeners prefer natural materials for use in the garden and do not like to use plastics as much. In this guide, we present the best care products for untreated natural wood, which are particularly suitable for outdoor use.

The table surface in the house can be made to shine with various polishes and oil-containing glazes, outdoors, untreated wood must above all be well protected against moisture. Especially in winter, icing can easily cause the wood to burst, as water expands when frozen.

But wild growth of moss or the roots of vine plants , such as ivy or wild wine, can also damage the wood, so that it can rot from the inside without the right care or pests settle in the wood.

Wood in the garden must be protected against these pests

Wood pests can be insects on the one hand, such as the house goat or the common rodent beetle. But other microorganisms such as fungi or lichens can damage the wood in the garden and even destroy it if left untreated.

In the garden, insects that eat wood are quite useful, since dead parts of plants or trees can be converted into humus by these animals in a natural way, which has a very favorable effect on the garden soil and enriches it with nutrients. Even clay soil improves as a result.

In the wooden garden house or the garden fence, as well as other wooden installations in the garden such as a pergola , these small creatures can cause great damage, which not only annoys the gardener, but also leads to extensive renovation measures so that demolition can be avoided.

The larvae of wood-eating insects look like small worms, which is where the name “woodworm” comes from. These can grow in the wood from a few months to several years before the pest infestation is even discovered. It is best to check at regular intervals whether the surfaces of all the wood in the garden are still level and free of drill holes, which, however, can only be a millimeter or even smaller.

The adult wood beetles lay eggs through these holes, the larvae hatch inside the wood and begin to gnaw on the infected wood species quickly after birth. With the tap test you can also check from the outside whether there are any cavities inside the wood. It is best to use a small hammer made of rubber or metal and pay attention to the places where the height of the clay changes. This indicates a cavity inside the wood that is invisible from the outside.

Well-tried home remedies for woodworm and goat

Even our ancestors had to deal with annoying insects that attacked wooden houses, sheds or even outside toilets. Today there are various chemicals against these widespread wood pests, but it is important for many gardeners to use as few poisons in their own garden as possible, especially to be able to use organic gardening .

Two natural enemies of the wood-eaters are great heat, but the beetle larvae do not survive cold temperatures unscathed. If individual wooden elements are affected, which can be removed, they can be heated in the oven at a temperature of around 60 ° C for about an hour, for example. This reliably kills the woodworms, only the holes remain in the wood.

Even severe frost in winter with high freezing temperatures made it difficult for wood beetle larvae to survive in the wood until spring. Small pieces of wood that have beetle damage can be treated in the freezer for two days and are then free of woodworms.

Set up odor traps for wood pests
Most wood beetles love acorns, just the smell of fresh acorns can attract the larvae. It is possible to make a chain from freshly collected acorns and drill the fruit in several places so that as much acorn smell as possible is emitted. You hang these wooden worm traps on the infected garden shed or, for example, along the eaten wooden slats of the garden fence.

You can check whether all beetle larvae have resettled by hanging fresh acorns after a few days. If these remain free of boreholes, it can be assumed that all beetle larvae have sat in the acorns. Do not dispose of them on the compost heap, otherwise the wood pests could spread from here again in the garden.

Vinegar helps fight pests in the wood and prevents mold
High-dose vinegar kills wood pests without polluting the environment. This type of pest control is also extremely gentle on the wood, since only those areas are treated that are really affected by the pest infestation. You can simply draw up vinegar essence with a syringe from the pharmacy, which is available for just a few cents, without diluting it.

Without a cannula, the plastic syringe is attached directly to the drill hole in the wood, with a little pressure you inject the vinegar into the wood. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure every few days for up to two weeks, as some larvae of wood pests are extremely resistant. Vinegar is also a natural home remedy for mold, it kills the visible surface just as reliably as mycelium and spores.

Protect the garden house from weathering

A garden house made of untreated real wood looks nice in the garden, but requires special care if the wood should not start to mold or weather. On https://www.pineca.de there are solid wooden garden houses in a wide variety of designs for which these care tips are suitable. A weather-resistant coating with a special wood glaze is best suited to keep the garden shed or the shed in the garden beautiful for a long time. There are wood glazes that do not leave an unnatural shine, which is not desired by some gardeners.

In any case, a wood polish for the outside can ensure that the natural wood color is brought out to its best advantage, that the wood looks fresh and that the fine grain is not whitewashed. Such a weather-resistant wood glaze is simply applied with a brush from a hardware store, ideally at the beginning of autumn, when a lot of precipitation is not yet to be expected.

The coating can be repeated in the spring. With strong UV exposure, sensitive natural woods can dry out, become brittle or crack without proper care. Microorganisms such as fungi or plant infestation are difficult to remove from these wells.

Remove moss and lichen from wood in the garden

If moss has formed, it can usually not simply be scraped off, otherwise the surface of the wood will be roughened, which means that parasites can nest more easily. A particularly ecological method to free wood from mold or plant growth in the garden is a high-pressure cleaner, which can also very effectively remove weeds on sidewalks . This device can be borrowed from the hardware store by the hour for a few euros if it is not to be used continuously in the garden.

The great advantage of a high-pressure cleaner is that even strongly adhering dirt can be removed gently and naturally: only with the power of clear water and without any toxic pollutants that can damage or leach the garden soil.

Remove moss and mushrooms in the garden without plant poisons
With a high-pressure cleaner, moss can also be removed from the garden wall without damaging the paint. A high-pressure cleaner on the roof of the garden shed can also save a lot of time. This is because it takes up to four times as long to remove moss and other plants by hand.

Even floor tiles in the garden can not only be freed from fungal attack, which discolors the floor slabs darkly, or from all types of growth, but also the surface of the wooden garden bench or the garden fence can be cleaned quickly with a high-pressure cleaner and without great physical effort.

Drying times must be observed before applying a protective wood glaze
If you want to subsequently seal the wood outdoors to protect it from weathering, you should give it a drying time of around 48 hours. With little sunshine and cloudy weather, this time can also be longer. In any case, the wood to be treated should be as dry as possible before it is processed further. Otherwise it can easily happen that moisture is trapped inside the wood, which can lead to decay.

Fungus spores also find an ideal breeding ground in this way and could decompose the real wood from the inside, so that despite the glaze and weather protection, damage to the wood can occur, which necessitates demolition or replacement.

Choose the right wood for outdoors

The living and active building material wood “works” and can change over the years. Soft woods are particularly susceptible because pests of animal and vegetable nature can penetrate particularly easily. Balsa is a particularly light type of wood, which is very suitable for handicrafts. This soft wood absolutely needs a waterproof coat of lacquer and is not suitable for outdoor use.

The poplar is also a soft wood, which can even be pressed in with a finger. In industry, poplar wood is most likely to be used to produce fuels.

Spruce wood is also very light, but has a slightly higher density. Untreated, it is only of limited suitability for outdoor use. With a weather-resistant insulating layer, the inexpensive raw material spruce can be used in the garden, although the slightly lighter fir is more suitable due to the finer grain.

Cherry is an insensitive and robust wood, which is considered to be particularly high quality. Enchanting pencils can be turned from cherry wood, as well as from rosewood. Cherry wood is rarely used for the construction of garden houses or gazebos, since these wooden houses are many times more expensive than garden houses made of resistant coniferous wood.

Use wood stain and wood paint against moisture and pest infestation

In specialist shops there are very different glazes for woods that are permanently outdoors. Some wood colors contain special, antifungal ingredients and protect against mold and other lichens. These can be used very well as a primer and can be covered with a water-repellent layer after a sufficiently long drying time. If you want to preserve the natural wood in the garden as naturally as possible, you should take care not to use lacquer and wood colors that are too shiny.

A weather-resistant wood glaze does not always have to shine like lacquer paint, there are also matt paints for garden woods. Oil-based glazes and wood colors should be avoided as a primer, as another layer can only adhere with difficulty. If the top protective layer peels off on the wood, moisture can penetrate at these points, which leads to the problems described above. Wood protection glazes should be renewed preventively at least once a year, but it is better to paint the wood outdoors every six to eight months.

Increase life expectancy through gardening
Annual gardening work - what needs to be done and when?