The Q&A Archives: Safety of Using Pressure Treated Lumber for Vegetable Beds

Question: I have heard conflicting reports about using pressure treated wood in constructing a raised bed for a vegetable garden. Do you know if it is dangerous or not? Thanks. George Jakubson Ithaca, NY

Answer: Yes, there is conflicting information around about using pressure treated lumber in gardens. Some say the arsenate in the CCA-treated lumber doesn't leach out and have studies to prove it. Others say some does leach and have their own studies. I tend to err on the side of caution and say don't use it especially in beds with edible crops. Try hemlock, cedar or plastic ties or another material such as rock or blocks when building the raised bed. If you already have CCA treated lumber, line the inside with plastic to act as a barrier between soil and wood.

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