The Q&A Archives: Pressure Treated Wood

Question: Is it ok to use pressure treated lumber for a raised bed vegetablel garden if lined with thick plastic? Or does this not protect against leaching enough.

Answer: There are two sides to the story concerning the safety of pressure treated wood in gardens. One says such products are safe, and cites studies showing little or no leaching of arsenate for years. The other side has it's own studies and says heavy metals and toxins do leach at dangerous levels. So, I err on the cautious side and recommend gardeners not use pressure-treated wood, especially for food plants. Try cedar, redwood, hemlock, plastic wood or cement blocks as alternatives. If you already have the wood and want to use it, line the inside with plastic to reduce the risk of the chemicals leaching into the soil.

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