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Assessment of Termite and Decay Damage to Mass Timber Elements in AWPA Ground Proximity and Above Ground Field Tests in Southern Mississippi

Informally Refereed
Authors: Mark E. .Mankowski, Thomas Shelton, Grant T. Kirker, Jeffrey J. Morrell
Year: 2022
Type: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
Station: Forest Products Laboratory
Source: Proc. of 118th annual meeting of AWPA


The ability of soil insecticidal drenches or spray-on insecticide/fungicide treatments to protect mass timber elements was assessed using two modified AWPA ground proximity tests established in 2017 and 2019. The 2017 test evaluated 3-ply Douglas-fir cross-laminated timber using a modified AWPA Standard E26 while the 2019 test used a modified AWPA E21 protocol to evaluate 3-ply Douglas-fir or southern pine cross-laminated timber as well as Douglas-fir mass plywood panels. Both tests were installed at the Harrison Experimental Forest (Saucier, Mississippi) and will be assessed for five years. Treatments include an initial soil termiticide drench, spray-on borate at initiation, borate rods at initiation, remedial boron spray treatment two years after installation, and untreated controls. Samples were left undisturbed for one or two years and then rated for degree of termite and fungal damage. Moisture content of the test materials increased greatly over the non-disturbance period. Untreated control samples were attacked by both decay fungi and termites within the first year after test initiation. Soil termiticide treated plots showed no sign of termite attack, but decay was evident on some samples compared to non-soil termiticide treated plots. Samples treated with borates at test initiation showed limited decay or termite attack. The tests will continue to be evaluated for a period of at least 5 years or longer and serve as critical baseline data for field evaluation methods of mass timber in areas of high subterranean termite and decay pressure.


Mass timber, mass panel plywood, cross laminated timber, AWPA E21, AWPA E26, ground proximity test, above ground test, soil termiticide, borate, field test, durability, decay, termite


Mankowski, M.E.; Kirker, G.T.; Shelton, T.G.; Morrell, J.J. 2022. Assessment of termite and decay damage to mass timber elements in AWPA ground proximity and above ground field tests in southern Mississippi. In: Proceedings of the 118th Annual Meeting of the American Wood Protection Association AWPA. Vol. 118. Charleston, SC. May 15-17, 2022. Birmingham, AL: AWPA: 218-226.