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Branches - I Know, I Know...

Discussion in 'Cage Furniture - Accessories' started by OEW, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    Questions like this are redundant. I know. But don't leave just yet.....

    So I'm starting work on my water dragon enclosure soon and now I'm in overdrive trying to find things for it. And I need branches. Whenever I read about people using branches from outside it seems that just any old branch is used as long as it isn't pine/cedar/etc. I could definitely be wrong about that but that's just how it seems. But I have given myself a headache thinking about what branches I'm going to use. My house is pretty much surrounded by just pine trees so I'm thinking of friends' yards and whatnot...
    Does it really matter what kind of tree it's from as long as its not the aforementioned ones? I have 3 trees in my front yard that I'm not sure what they are, but they are flowering in the springtime... I'm thinking they're some kind of cherry tree. Could I use that? Is it a huge deal? I was thinking oak and then read that that's no good... A lot of articles I've read basically say that most trees that would commonly be around me are no good. Is maple okay for a water dragon? Maybe I can find a maple around me...

    So stressful! :confused:
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I am not aware of any issues with either oak or maple. I would steer clear of cedar and pine. Ever try to get pine pitch of off anything?
    I would be leery of fruit trees since so many people tend to spray the heck out of them with chemicals.

    When I go looking for branches I just look for deadfall that is already old and dried out.
  3. RomanLA

    RomanLA Elite Member

  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That page is aimed at amphibian keepers which are a little more vulnerable to environmental things than a water dragon. Your best bet is to just go out in the woods and pick up old limbs.
    If it has a strong smell of pine or cedar, don't use it.
  5. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    That's all I've done with my enclosures that have wood^. Went out to the woodsy area behind my house and collected deadwood. Stripped the bark (because it was unsightly) and poured boiling water over it a few times. I currently use this "treated" wood in several of my lizard enclosures without issue.
  6. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    Roman I looked at that article and their list of safe woods confuses me, because it has "safe for wet and dry "and then "safe only in dry setups" and I don't know if they mean really wet or just humid as a water dragons would be. Lol.

    Okay, thank you, I guess I should stop freaking out so much! Those cherry trees in my yard don't produce fruit, only flowers, and we never spray them with anything so would those be okay or should I still avoid them?
  7. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

    That articles listing of unsafe woods for wet use are for the most part wood that will leach toxic saps. Maple is safe if it's sugar maple. No red maple. Something else I would think that you would need to keep in mind is if your area is sprayed for insects. I'm fortunate as I'm in what is considered a "red zone". No arial or road fogging due to wetlands and schools. A mile up the road though the trees are heavily sprayed by foggers on the back of trucks for mosquito control. We are lucky also because no arial spraying can be done over a couple of the local towns because of so many lakes and ponds. These bodies of water are fed by a very large aquifer which supplies water for local towns.
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Oew your cherry tree things are fine. If you haven't sprayed them then there is probably no chemical residue on them.

    What I do for branches is to out my front door and climb the giant tree. Then just find a branch in the shape I desire and chop it off!
    Of course I live in a treeless arid wasteland so just walking around picking up branches isn't a possibility for me. I am lucky enough to have large trees in my condo complex otherwise I would be making all my branches out of PVC and rope.
  9. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    I agree with Merlin...just get out there and grab some deadfall and do your best to avoid taking branches from live trees. I usually just brush/blow off the loose crap (do not sand or remove solid textured elements) and sometimes take a wire or stiff scrub brush to the piece. I would remove any and all sharp features and be sure to cut, break or modify any parts that pose a snag risk--small splits or tight angles can act as snares, which can cause potential harm. I would also consider baking the piece if possible. Just last weekend I was preping a root for one of my new enclosures and out poured a stream of hibernating black carpenter ants. Not only would I not want my animals subjected to attack but I also would not want carpenter ants (or termites etc etc) inside my home.
  10. Runningmom

    Runningmom Elite Member

    ^yikes! Carpenter ants.
  11. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    Is it better for them to be dead/fallen branches? If I was going to use branches from the trees in my yard I'd probably cut them off as I don't think any have fallen off those trees...
  12. justor

    justor Elite Member

    I have a question about getting good branches. I really have no access to trees to scavange deadfall from or to even chop down live branches. I pretty much live right in the middle of a big city so I would have to drive pretty far to get out to the desert, and if I manage to find any trees at all they're typically either palo verde or mesquite trees. Palo verdes are weird looking trees with green bark so they are not ideal for a viv, and I don't know if mesquite is safe or not. If mesquite branches are safe I could probably manage to find some decent ones, but it would still be a pain in the rear trying to transport them (I'm looking for like 6 foot branches for an adult iguanas enclosure, and I don't exactly have the biggest vehicle). Does anyone have ideas on where I could get some nice big branches, maybe online or something, if finding them on my own is not feasable? What do landscapers do with branches they cut from their clients trees? Any unconventional ideas would be appreciated.

    Anyways sorry for derailing the thread, just figured we don't need another thread about branches lol.
  13. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Well palo verde and mesquite are fine for cages. I have used them before.
    Generally landscapers take their haul to a landfill or dump. You could call around and ask local dumps if they have a branch section or you can call the landscaper companies directly and ask them what they do with the branches. But again hauling the banches would be an issue. You could cut the branches in pieces and the screw, glue, pet and grove them or somehow secure the branches back together. You could also wrap the branches in a tarp strap them to the top of your vehicle and put a red flag on the end. If it isn't too far of a drive.
    Other options are wood carving supplies or if you want straight ones garden posts would work but they are ultra straight. Or build your own out of PVC then cover in rope or silicone and dirt.
  14. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    I recently came across a website that sells manzanita branches in pretty much any size or diameter you ask for...not sure if this is really ideal or anything but I thought I'd put it out there. They don't list prices because you have to call them and tell them what you want but yeah. Click.
  15. RomanLA

    RomanLA Elite Member

    I bought some 80 inch pieces of dragonwood that are 2-1/2 inches in diameter. I have a line on some more, but they want $80 plus shipping. I think I paid $40 each last time, so I'm still looking. Dragonwood definitely isn't going to be on a list as being safe or not, but they sell them as bird perches, so I figure that's a good sign. The ones that come from A&E Cage Co have been heated to 200F too. Unfortunately, they don't sell to the public, so you have to find someone that carries their products to buy them.

    Oh yeah...LLLReptile has some decent size stuff and they're heat treated too I believe.
  16. OEW

    OEW Elite Member

    I repeat... lol

    Just want to make sure there's not some kind of issue with "live" branches...
  17. mayhmmaydn

    mayhmmaydn Elite Member

    I rescued a piece of wood yesterday. Looks like palo verde and it was around a bunch of them. Its kinda soft though I was surprised how lightweight it is. Soaked and bleached it last night for several hours. its baking in the hot Arizona sun right now. It still smells though. like palo. im wondering if I should seal it to make sure it safe? being a little hypersensitive about my little one? Thankfully when we go camping Ill be able to pick up some manzanita for free!! May
  18. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

    Live is ok so long as it is not oak or other type trees that have high levels of tannins. In a moist environment the tannins will leach into your soil and water.
    In New England Maple, lilac, mulberry, apple, bamboo, forsythia and a bunch of others. Russian Olive is good too and the highways in Ma are loaded with them. They are the ones that have that wonderful smell when in bloom. Grape vines too are great to use but avoid vines that you are not positive of. Cherry there is some folks who say it's not good to use and others that say it's fine. It can make some animals sick so I've always avoided it.

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