This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We believe people are not generally aware of the great value of the Catalpa for enduring timber. We find the following in an exchange:
"This familiar tree, says Landreth's Rural Register, indigenous to the greater portion of the Union, has been long known to a limited number to possess wood of an enduring quality for posts; as lasting, it is claimed, as the black or yellow locust - Robinia psued-acacia - but, fortunately unlike it, exempt from insect attack - indeed, so far as our observation has extended, it is not liable to disease direct or consequential; and as the tree grows readily from seed, there need be no impediment in propagating it to any extent desired. Fence rows, boundaries, lanes, the roadside, impracticable plats of ground, inaccessible knolls, might each be seized upon for planting this useful and ornamental tree."
Dr. Lamborn once told the writer of some gate posts of Catalpa that were sound after fifty years. Our own personal experience is limited. We know of some fence posts of Catalpa, we think seven years old, which appear as good as the day they were put in, and see no reason why they should not last fifty by their present appearance.