planting veggies near area treated for termites - Knowledgebase Question

Chandler, Ar
Question by lepacik
October 7, 2010
We had our home treated for termites approx one year ago. We recently dug and made a raised bed approx 9 inches from the foundation of the home. I'm concerned that the soil may be contaminated with the the termite pesticide. Should I remove the existing soil and put in new organic soil? If so, what type of soil do you recommend?


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Answer from NGA
October 7, 2010

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I talked with the Pesticide Information Office this morning. The toxicants used for termites do not move through the soil. Premise and Nicopet have been on the market for some time and they do not appear to move into plants whose roots are growing into the treated area. Termidor is fairly new on the market and all the research has not been done on it. In one trial at Arizona State University Research center, wheat plants growing in treated soil did take up the Termidor. Again, the roots are growing in the treated soil; the roots would have to come in contact with the toxicant in the soil in order for the plant to take it up.

Since you plan to garden in a raised bed, if it's deep enough and you use fresh topsoil, the roots of the plants probably won't extend into the treated soil. I'd import some fresh topsoil (either bagged or in bulk) and raise the garden area to at least 12 inches so the roots will have ample room to grow without moving down into the treated soil.

You know more about when and how the treatments were made, what chemical was used, and how/where the plants are growing so you will have to make your own judgement as to whether or not the site you describe is the best one for your vegetable garden.

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