Microscopic analysis of southern pine utility pole core segments
S E Anagnost, C J K Wang, M Wright
Fifteen macroscopic core descriptive categories were evaluated by microscopic analysis for accuracy in detecting decay and judging decay severity. Five categories were good indicators of decay as decay was detected in 28 of 48 samples. Five categories were possible indicators of early decay as decay was detected in 6 of 40 core segments and an additional 18 contained hyphae. The remaining five categories were considered indicators of sound wood as no decay was detected in those samples. Macroscopic features which frequently indicated decay were compaction and discoloration. However, discoloration was often misjudged or confused with preservative treatment. Identification of fungal isolates will add valuable information. Thirty-four of 152 core segments from fifteen southern pine utility poles contain soft rot (25), white rot (3) or both (6). Decay detection was improved by using the fiber suspension technique. Soft rot was detected from 1 foot below to 4 feet above groundline and as deep as 15 cm from the pole surface.