Kia hora te manno
Kia whakapapa paumamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi

May the calm be widespread
May the sea glisten like the greenstone
And may the glimmer of summer dance across your pathways

Friday, March 06, 2009

Using pressure treated wood in your garden.

In my last post on raised beds, I have a photo of a staple on the side of one of my new raised beds, which prompted Grace, to leave a comment voicing her concerns (and rightly so)
quote: The boards you're using to edge your beds look like the ones that are treated with a toxic preservative. It's a cocktail containing arsenic and can leach into the soil and into your food supply. If your boards are newly purchased they're probably safe since a few years ago the arsenic treatment was banned.

I thank grace for raising this question, because it led me to consider, how many other new gardeners are not familiar with the use of pressure treated wood in their gardens.

First of all I turned to the internet, and found many articles on the subject, then I called a friend who is a toxicologist. My friend was interested in what I was asking, and said he had not looked into the latest information on what is being used on pressure treated wood, but will do so, and get back to me. As a toxicologist he always says " any chemical, which also includes some we think of as harmless, will hurt you if you get enough of it"

The sides of the raised bed
in my garden,are constructed with new wood, which has been treated with different chemicals from those used previous to 2003, but there is still a question, are these still safe. HERE is one article I found. ANOTHER and ANOTHER

It seems there are many opinions on this subject, so, I am going to wait for more information from my learned toxicologist friend before I form my own ideas.


Grace Peterson said...

Boy Keewee, You're not kidding.
There are a lot of opinions and it sounds like the jury is still out. I'm wondering: if certified organic gardeners/farmers can't use ANY treated wood... But if plants only take up arsenic when the soil is deficient in phosphorus... ACQ contains copper which isn't exactly inert....

I'll be interested to hear what your friend has to say on the matter.

dinzie said...

Its a debate that will go on for a long time ......

I have one smaller raised bed with new treated wood. But having read so much of the debates I lined the bed with plastic .....

So many questions though about safe much actually gets into the soil and how far from the wood itself. What plants take up the chemicals in question...

Considering the amount of chemicals used by farmers year after year on the same soil when growing crops the amount in your soil will probabaly pale into insignificance..


Bill Kisich said...

Hello KeeWee,

Wow, I was just about to begin my own raised beds. I was planning to buy plain old pine, but thinking if the budget allows I might use redwood. The pressure treated stuff looks like a good idea at first, not now thanks to you.

I'll see if I can get an opinion from one of the local permaculture guild members here. I'll let you know what I find out.
Thanks for the article and have a beautiful day.