The Development of a novel method to preserve reeds using an environmentally friendly timber preservative and a unique engineering design.
K Govender, K G Moodley
Reeds are used in the construction of bush lodges in Northern Kwa- Zulu Natal, South Africa. Fungal, insect and ultra-violet damage to these reeds is posing a severe problem. Within a space of two years, the reeds are attacked and have to be subsequently replaced; a time consuming and costly exercise. A novel method has been used to successfully preserve these reeds with an environmentally friendly preservative containing disodium octaborate tetrahydrate in a water-based polymer system. The polymer allows for uninhibited diffusion of boron into the reeds, whilst the polymer cures to form a continuous protective film. By making use of two strategically drilled holes, which are 2 mm in diameter, the preservative is introduced into the reed shafts and nodes. The boron successfully diffuses into the walls of the reeds and is prevented from leaching out of the reeds. The water-based polymer provides sufficient protection against excessive ultra-violet damage. The test site, which is situated in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal – South Africa, has been monitored for nearly two years and there are no sign of insect or fungal damage to the reeds. Over the two-year period, the reeds were periodically inspected for deterioration in colour and deterioration in structural integrity.