The climate of Mississippi and the Gulf South region presents challenges for wood preservation, making water repellents and the environment top considerations.
David Jones, assistant Extension professor in Mississippi State University's forest products department, said wood treatments can lengthen the performance of timber by decades.

"If we placed an untreated telephone pole in the ground, it would last two or three years. A treated pole will last two or three decades," Jones said. "The time to consider treatments is before the wood is in place, especially if it will be in water."

Mississippians use wooden pilings and decking extensively from the salt waters of the Gulf to the lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the state.

Even away from bodies of water, the state's humidity and rainfall can take a toll on the life expectancy of wood products.

"Wood can be degraded by a variety of factors including biological factors, mechanical means, fire, sunlight, and chemicals," Jones said.

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