Soft rot in CCA-treated utility poles in Sweden

IRG/WP 1398

H Friis-Hansen, H Lundström

Soft rot investigations of CCA-treated utility poles (Pinus sylvestris L.) have been conducted throughout large parts of Sweden during 1974-1985. The investigation included 179 utility poles of the State Power Board which had been used for 10-18 years in the different administrative regions from northern to southern Sweden. In addition, 193 telephone poles from the Östersund area and 218 from the Kristianstad area were studied after having been in use for 18-25 years. The soft rot fungi cause two types of attack in wood cells, namely cavities (Type I) and erosion (Type II). In this investigation, soft rot is reported only when cavities of Type I were found. Erosion (Type II) is more difficult to observe, particularly in early stages, and in addition is almost impossible to distinguish from certain other attacks of rot, such as white rot, which may have occurred during storage of the poles before impregnation. In western and central Sweden, minor attacks of soft rot were found after 10-12 years in State Power Board poles embedded in soil in arable land and meadows. Power Board poles in northern Sweden had minor attacks of soft rot after 16-18 years in arable land and also in forest land when embedded in soil. Poles used by the Telecommunications services, all embedded in stone, showed minor and only occasional attacks of soft rot at Östersund (northen Sweden), but considerably more soft rot at Kristianstad (southern Sweden). The Telecommunication poles had been in service up to seven years longer than the poles used by the State Power Board. The localization and spread of soft rot attacks in a pole can vary. There may be many reasons for this, including insufficient impregnation, leaching, etc. The soft rot attacks found in the Power Board poles are always minor and sporadic and none of the investigated poles can be said to imply any safety risk. The same applies to the Telecommunication poles at Östersund whereas those at Kristianstad demonstrated considerably more severe and more frequent attacks. The attacks of soft rot in the Telecommunication poles more frequently occurred internally, more often deeper in the sapwood than in the outermost parts.


Conference: 89-05-22/26 Lappeenranta, Finland

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