How to Treat Wood for Garden Boxes Using Tung Oil?

using tung oil for treating garden boxes

There’s nothing more relaxing for me than tending to my plants and witnessing their growth. If you share the same love for gardening, you understand the significance of using the right tools to maximize the potential of your backyard oasis.

Amongst these tools, a quality set of garden boxes stands out as essential for any gardener. Not only do they simplify the planting and maintenance process, but they also enhance the beauty of your garden. Therefore, investing in and properly maintaining these boxes is a wise choice.

If you’re in the market for new wooden garden boxes or considering treating existing ones, using tung oil as a wood preservative is an excellent choice.

In this blog post, I’ll share my experience of treating my garden boxes with pure tung oil and provide you with step-by-step instructions. So, continue reading to discover how you can protect your garden box timber from the elements effectively!

What is tung oil – What are its benefits for raised beds?

Tung oil is a natural product that comes from the seeds of the nuts of the tung trees.

It’s been used for centuries as a wood finish and has a number of benefits when used for garden-raised beds, including:

  • It’s easy to apply
  • It’s non-toxic and safe to use around food plants
  • It’s attractive in color and doesn’t turn yellow over time
  • It’s a waterproof oil that seals in moisture and helps protect the wood from the elements

Above all, tung oil has elastic properties, which helps it to continue providing protection even as the wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity.

How do you apply tung oil to raised planter boxes?

IMO, if you apply the tung oil sealer rightly to your garden boxes – it’s a great way to protect them from the weather, and it also extends their life while keeping them looking natural.

With so many advantages out there, I decided to treat my garden boxes last summer with a tung oil finish rather than a coat of fresh paint. Those were made of redwood and showed signs of wear with peeling paint.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I started by sanding the wood of my garden beds to create a smooth surface.
  2. Then I applied a thin layer of tung oil to the wood with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  3. Wiped away excess oil with a second clean, lint-free cloth.
  4. Finally, I allowed the oil to dry for at least 24 hours before I used the garden boxes.

Overall, it was easy, and it only took me around an hour to finish the job.

Drying the oil and getting it soaked into wood will, however, take good time, so make sure you give the tung oil enough time to cure.

treating and sealing planter boxes with tung oil

What are the results of using tung oil on a raised bed frame, and how long does it last?

Overall, Tung oil protected my redwood garden boxes from the elements very well – I am happy with the results.

And you won’t believe it; it’s up there even after a year or so without showing any signs of wear or damage.

So, I can say if you have finished your project well and have applied the tung oil to the wood with patience, it should last for 12 to 15 months without any problem.

It will help seal in moisture and prevent the wood from rotting, cracking, or splitting for a whole year, after which you can consider treating the wood again following the same procedure.

TIP: If you are in an area with lots of snow or moisture, it’s a good idea to reapply the oil every few months or as needed to keep the wood in good condition.

Are there any drawbacks to using tung oil on a raised bed frame that I should be aware of before deciding whether or not to use it myself?

The main drawback of using tung oil is that it can be a bit messy and smelly to apply.

It’s essential to ensure that you have good ventilation when applying the oil and that you immediately clean up any spills or drips.

In addition, tung oil can be difficult to remove once it’s been applied, so be sure you’re happy with the results before you commit to using it. You can do this by testing the oil on a small piece of wood before applying it to the required surface that needs the coating.

A few other issues I have faced while applying tung oil to my garden boxes also included:

  • Slow penetration
  • Long processing time
  • It doesn’t smoothen the wood grain
  • Pure oil is expensive and difficult to store

The Bottom Line

Garden boxes add a touch of style to your yard and make it easy for you to organize and plant. But before planting, you need to treat the wood for your garden boxes.

Treating it with food-safe tung oil is a great option if you’re looking for an easy way to protect your garden box. Not only is it non-toxic and safe to use around food plants, but it also seals in moisture and helps extend the life of the wood.

So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at how well this wood sealant works.

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