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I'd like to get some feedback on using branches from trees in the yard.

We cut some laurel tree branches about 6 months ago and they've been drying in the yard. Is laurel safe for PDFs?

Theres also a magnolia tree in the yard I could cut some branches from, I figured they would be considered "safe" since the leaves are also used. But didn't know if they decompose quickly.

Anything I use will, of course, be boiled.
 

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I have found even things like cypress knees break down vert quickly in frog tanks. There are some super rot resistant temperate woods out there like black locust or osage orange. But, for all the time and money you spend setting up a tank I don't think using found branches is worth it unless you have something VERY rot resistant. Buy cork bark or mopani wood. It is worth it.
 

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I also wanted to use mountain laurel branches since they are very nice looking. From what I remember people were saying when I did my research they are toxic for PDFs, so I would probably avoid them.

As bulbophyllum mentioned you are going to want to use the most rot resistant wood you can find, especially if any of it is going to be incorporated into your background. Most people recommend cork bark and mopani, I also used some spider wood in my tank which was very nice for my thumbnail frogs to climb on.

Whenever you are gathering materials from outside you really have to do your due diligence and ensure there are no pesticides or other harmful substances present on them. You mentioned you would boil them, that is good so that you don't end up with unwanted pests.

Personally I went to rivers around by me and found tons of driftwood. Unfortunately almost all of it I did not use because it either was too soft, was toxic to the animals (cedar or other sap leeching woods), or would decompose too quickly. The one piece I did use was great and it is the focal point of my enclosure. So its all about whether you want to put the time in, or spend the money to get good pieces. The main thing if you get anything outside there is always potential risks so be careful.

Thanks,
Ricky
 

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I have found even things like cypress knees break down vert quickly in frog tanks. There are some super rot resistant temperate woods out there like black locust or osage orange. But, for all the time and money you spend setting up a tank I don't think using found branches is worth it unless you have something VERY rot resistant. Buy cork bark or mopani wood. It is worth it.
I have some rather large osage orange trees in my yard that could use some limbs pruned off, and I've occasionally played with the idea of using some in a viv. Never went through with it, but curious if anyone has any experience using that wood in particular? Precautions taken, of course.
 

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I have some rather large osage orange trees in my yard that could use some limbs pruned off, and I've occasionally played with the idea of using some in a viv. Never went through with it, but curious if anyone has any experience using that wood in particular? Precautions taken, of course.
I was more referring to the heart wood of the tree. Branches will be mostly sap wood.
 

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Bay Laurel has a lot of active chemical compounds and thus might not be a good choice....

Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Laurus nobilis L. Essential Oils from Bulgaria

Magnolia would probably be OK.

If you use tree branches from urban areas, take care that they do not contain pesticides. Most of the Elms and Ashes in our neighborhood for example have been treated with systemic bug killers for insect infestations.

I use the oven to bake branches at around 275F to kill Earthworms, Earwigs, Sowbugs and other potential vivarium pests...easier than boiling and won't degrade the material as much.
 

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I have had some limited luck using pieces of tree roots (either from driftwood, or from trees that fell over and needed to be removed). Since roots spend all of their time in the ground in constant contact with moisture, they appear to be somewhat more resistant to rot than branches. It's still a good idea to verify the species, though, and to bake before putting in the viv to kill any hitchhiking-bugs.
 
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