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I have been trying to find out what protection will last the longest.

I have seen recommendations to soak fence posts in a bucket of preservative for 24 hours before installing but I cannot see water-based preservatives being long lasting preservatives, or am I wrong?

How to I provide the longest protection from water ingress, insect damage and rot?

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Creosote would have been the go to for this, but in the EU (and ongoing, still in the UK, regardless of Brexit) only professionals are licensed to use it because of its carcinogenic properties. There is a kind of replacement called Creocote which does not have the same problems and is more environmentally friendly; it is still oil based, unlike most of the other fence preservatives on sale, and therefore will still have a higher level volatile oil content, meaning it has a strong odour and should be kept off any nearby plants. Some guidance on fence preservatives is given here https://home-gardener.co.uk/fences/fence-preservative/.

If you are yet to buy fence posts, make sure you choose pressure treated/tanalized ones - these are pre treated for rot. The manner of installation is important too - rotting usually starts at the base, where they are near the soil; metposts can help to avoid this. Otherwise, concrete pots (with a slot to insert fence panels) last a lot longer than wooden ones; use of concrete gravel boards under the panels also means a longer lasting fence.

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    I have no experience with Cresote or Crecocote in my part of the world, so no comment. ------ I will say I live in the PNW of North America on the board of a temperature rainforest biome. We deal with a lot of rot. Bamboo is correct it's where the post goes in the ground is where the rot sets in. No part of the fence not even the post should ever touch the ground. Fence post should be attached to a concrete foundation with a metal post bracket. If you can keep that from touching the ground your fence will last many years. In N. Amer. buy Cedar (thuja plicata) for longer lasting. – GardenGems Jan 5 at 19:39

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