Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe for Vegetable Gardens?
Pressure treated wood is lumber that has been chemically treated to resist rot, decay, and insect damage. Even though this type of lumber is useful in many applications, it can pose problems for vegetable gardeners. Here’s what you need to know about using pressure treated wood for vegetable gardens:
What’s in Pressure Treated Wood?
Pressure treated wood is available in two versions: creosote and chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Creosote-treated wood is used primarily as a rail and post system, while CCA is commonly used as structural timber and lumber. Both of these forms are full of potential toxins, such as arsenic, creosote, chromium, and copper.
The Risks of Using Pressure Treated Wood
Since the chemicals in pressure treated wood can be harmful, it is not safe to use it in areas where food is grown. Here are some of the risks associated with using pressure treated wood in vegetable gardens:
- Contamination of soil and food: Chemicals from the wood may leach into the soil and be absorbed by plants, contaminating the food you are growing.
- Health risks: The chemicals in pressure treated wood can be dangerous, especially if you are directly exposed to them or consume produce that has been contaminated.
- Environmental contamination: As the chemicals from the wood leach into the soil, they can travel into nearby bodies of water or through the air, polluting the environment.
Alternatives to Pressure Treated Wood
If you are looking for a safe alternative to pressure treated wood for your vegetable garden, there are several options available. Here are some of the best choices:
- Cedar: This type of wood is naturally resistant to rotting and decay, so it doesn’t need to be treated with any chemicals.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a renewable resource and doesn’t need to be treated with any chemicals. It is also very strong, making it ideal for use in vegetable gardens.
- Recycled plastic: Recycled plastic is durable and resistant to rotting and decay, so it won’t need any chemical treatment. Additionally, it won’t contaminate the soil or produce.
It is not safe to use pressure treated wood in vegetable gardens because the chemicals in it can contaminate the soil and produce, and may pose health risks. Fortunately, there are many safe alternatives to pressure treated wood, such as cedar, bamboo, and recycled plastic.