Pressure Treated Wood and Vegetable Gardens
Vegetable gardens can provide many beneficial aspects for ones garden, but one of the key factors to consider is the type of wood used in the garden. Pressure treated wood is commonly used for vegetable gardens due to its low cost, but it does have some drawbacks that can affect your garden’s health and wellbeing.
What is Pressure Treated Wood?
Pressure treated wood is wood that has been treated with preservatives under high pressure in order to protect it from decay and insects. The most common chemical used is chromated copper arsenate, which can contain arsenic, chromium and other hazardous chemicals.
Potential Dangers of Pressure Treated Wood for Vegetable Gardens
- Arsenic: Arsenic can leach into the soil, resulting in raised levels in crops grown in the soil.
- Chromium: Chromium is dangerous when ingested and can accumulate in the edible parts of plants.
If the wood is exposed to the environment, the preservatives can be destroyed, which can reduce the protective properties. Additionally, reducing soil chemistry can have an overall effect on the health of plants in the garden.
Alternatives to Pressure Treated Wood
There are several alternatives to pressure treated wood – each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
- Untreated Wood: Untreated wood has a shorter lifespan than pressure wood but does not contain any toxins.
- Cedar or Redwood: Cedar and redwood contain natural preservatives – making them naturally resistant to decay and insects.
- Plastic or Metal: Plastic and metal never need to be treated or replaced, but can be more expensive than other materials and may be frowned upon aesthetically.
Pressure treated wood is a popular choice for vegetable gardens due to its low cost, however there are negatives to consider. Arsenic and Chromium can leach into the soil and pose a health risk to crops and the overall health of the soil. There are several alternatives to pressure treated wood that offer natural preservatives, longer lifespans, and greater health benefits to crops. It is important to consider all options before making any decisions, as these can have a long-term effect on the health of the vegetable garden.