Nest Home Improvement
Nest Home Improvement
  • Hometalker
  • Raleigh, NC
Asked on Feb 26, 2013

Can the chemicals used in pressure treated wood leach into your vegetable garden?

Duv310660DORLISWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com
+10

Answered

I was planning on constructing a raised garden bed out of pressure treated lumber. The homeowner asked if the chemicals would be absorbed by the plants. My thought was yes but am not sure. Anyone have any insight?
13 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Feb 26, 2013

    The new 'yellow' wood is not supposed to be harmful to use around vegetables and eatables. I definitely stay away from the rail road ties. The other material that I have noticed people are using quite a bit is recycled pallets. I am no fan of this because you really really don't know what has been on the pallet and leaked, who manufactured it and how.

  • Nest Home Improvement
    on Feb 26, 2013

    I agree with not knowing about the history of the pallet.

  • The older treated lumber is not a good thing as it does leach its chemicals. The new stuff is not all that great as well. Same with older homes that contained lead paint on the exterior as that also will leach into the soil and can be drawn up into the plants. Check this link out. I would only use a plastic lumber material against the soils. Perhaps treated 4 by's for corner or center posts, but everything else would be plastic or good old pine 2 by lumber. http://www.finegardening.com/design/articles/pressure-treated-wood-in-beds.aspx

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Feb 27, 2013

    Given the many alternatives, I see no reason to use pressure-treated lumber for a raised bed. Why take any chance?

  • Nest Home Improvement
    on Feb 27, 2013

    Excellent point Doug. Any suggestions of what material you would use?

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 27, 2013

    I have used natural cedar as well as some synthetic decking. The synthetic decking is rot proof but not quite as stiff so it needs to be braced or staked. I have also seen some done with concrete blocks...regular cinder blocks and the landscape retaining wall types.

  • Nest Home Improvement
    on Feb 27, 2013

    I tried to suggest a natural stone, but unfortunately it wasn't in the homeowners budget.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Feb 28, 2013

    I like using cedar, but you can actually do raised rows without side supports. See how one Hometalk member does that here: http://www.hometalk.com/696669/3-easy-steps-to-create-a-great-low-maintenance-garden-for-next-year-now-the-10

  • Nest Home Improvement
    on Feb 28, 2013

    Doug thanks for the tip.

  • Christina Cole
    on Apr 2, 2013

    I was just about to make ounr beds out of lumber. Thanks for the post. I think I will use something different now. :)

  • Christina, lumber is fine, however it takes a lot of money and time to create these raised beds, and choosing a product that is safe is important as well. Treated lumber has just to many concerns which is why several of us suggested using a different product. A normal wood board will still work, but expect to replace it in a few years as it decays. This is why synthetic decking materials, (plastic wood) as KMS Woodworks suggested may be a better alternative.

  • DORLIS
    on Jun 13, 2015

    yes, they can

  • Duv310660
    on Feb 8, 2016

    I personally would not use pressure treated wood or railroad ties for raised beds for this very reason, and my veg garden is sited on top of an outdoors privy that was used on a working farm for over 100 years.

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