Ask a Question forum→Roof shingles in the garden?!

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 13471, Replies: 31 » Jump to the end
Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 7a)
ellenr22
Jun 3, 2018 10:51 AM CST
I was a bit wary when my neighbor in the community garden lined her garden paths with roof shingles to keep down weeds.
Today she told me that her vegies are not growing and she doesn't know why!
Last year her eggplant was great, today 3 of 5 are dead.
I realize there could be a lot of reasons, but to my mind, I would first wonder about roof shingles-- my assumption is they contain toxic substances. And we've had a lot of rain.
Any thoughts?

thanks.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Jun 3, 2018 11:04 AM CST
Yes indeed my fellow gardener.
Things like tar, and asbestos, who knows what else ???
Even the wood type are treated.

I hope your garden isn't next to there's. YIKES Blinking

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 7a)
ellenr22
Jun 3, 2018 11:50 AM CST
yes, mine is next to hers. In fact, it is lower than hers. Sad
I don't eat anything I grow, still am not happy about this.
I sent the article below to the coordinator, and when I see the neighbor gardener, I will tell her. Hopefully she will pick up the shingles, but who knows how much of the garden is contaminated.....

grr.

this is an educated woman, works at the university, but apparently lacking common sense.
~
"Old asphalt roofs made with toxic lead"

The students of the University of Michigan College of Engineering BLUElab Living Building Challenge team discovered something disturbing about our rooftops: they are filled with toxic chemicals and metals that is polluting our rainwater. The students are working to take our Victorian-era net zero energy home and make it net zero water as well. In the process they were testing the rainwater coming from our rooftop. To the team's surprise, the lab results indicated high levels of lead in the water coming from the roof.

Lead and other heavy metals are polluting rainwater

Although the roof was relatively new (installed in 2007), we suspected the asphalt roof shingles were the source of the lead. We brought samples to our friends at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, MI for testing. They are the great folks behind HealthyStuff.org where you can find what's in many consumer products. Using an X-ray Fluorescence machine (XRF) they found that the roofing material contained a significant amount of lead and other toxic heavy metals.

Considering most homes use asphalt shingles, this is very concerning. We are turning clean rainwater into toxic waste.

http://www.improvementcenter.c...
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 3, 2018 9:14 PM CST
The shingles, along with the record breaking amount of rain in the Mid atlantic over the last 5-6 weeks, which is all spring, may have 'suffocated' her plants. Kept the soil too wet and airless. My eggplants aren't that happy either, they want it warm.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
Plant Identifier Region: Georgia Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter Garden Sages Bookworm
Image
greene
Jun 3, 2018 9:32 PM CST
If this is a community garden there should be rules in place against adding things like asphalt shingles. Can you check with whoever is in charge?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 7a)
ellenr22
Jun 4, 2018 4:26 AM CST
I did tell the coordinator, she doesn't seem very concerned.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 4, 2018 6:25 AM CST
Is there a park system or someone higher up? I'm sure no one ever thought they'd need to make rules, but you have a documented reason to be concerned about lead and heavy metals. Bad stuff.
Sadly, the offender might be more easily persuaded that the shingles are bad for her plants, than that they are bad for the people.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 7a)
ellenr22
Jun 4, 2018 6:43 AM CST
I totally agree Sally G. It is too bad people are not better informed and more responsible. I don't grow edible crops - but it's still nasty to think about that stuff in my plot.
Not to mention other nearby plots, and what about the next person who gardens in this person's plot.
I imagine the soil would have to be remediated.
As far as a higher-up, unfortunately we have no higher-up. This comm'y garden used to be under the County Extension Division - and I think they would be upset that this was allowed to happen.
I also wish I had thot more clearly when she first put them down -- I was repelled but I didn't do research and then I forgot about it.
And we've gotten so much rain!
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Tropicals
Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Foliage Fan
Image
purpleinopp
Jun 4, 2018 8:35 AM CST
The age of a home has no bearing on the age of the roof. At best, asphalt shingles will last 30 years. Anyone who is catching rain water from roof run-off would be collecting lead & other toxins if this was a problem. I've never seen this type of concern mentioned in any discussion about collecting rain water, or about gardening in general around the perimeter of a building.

It's not an investigation that I want to do but I feel confident that roof shingles manufactured since the 80's or newer do not have lead. When renting/leasing a home built prior to 1978, federal law requires a disclosure about possible lead paint, but there is no warning about lead roof shingles.

But since these shingles are no longer on a roof, they could be of an older type. I have no idea if there is cause for concern or not, without more information about the specific shingles being used. Are there any suspected adverse effects on your side of the path?

If they are black, they could be causing the ground under and adjacent to them to get much more hot than usual when the sun is beating on them.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 4, 2018 9:26 AM CST
I'm sure the Extension dearly hopes the program can be friendly warm and fuzzy and not have to enforce any restrictions.. but maybe if an agent was around, they* would be better at persuading the shingle user.

Long term, any organic mulch has a LOT more benefits. That still may be a selling point. As Tiffany said, when we finally get summer sun, that will get really hot.

*( is now accepted as a pronoun when no gender is specified. Still sounds wrong to me tho)
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Jun 4, 2018 10:27 AM CST
I used shingles to make pathways in my flower beds, but never did use them up around the plants. They are great if you lay them out and then lay stepping stones over them and then I filled in the spaces with red clay. I had this pathway for probably 6-8 years before we moved. It looked as good the day I left as when I put it down and I never had any weeds there. Not sure I would use it though around edibles. Seems like a bad type idea.
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Jun 4, 2018 10:29 AM CST
Definatly agree with the idea that the shingles are causing the ground to be too hot. That is very plausible. I don't think I would use them around edibles but just as someone else said, people use roof water run off all the time. Probably not as risky as it seems. Shrug!
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Tropicals
Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Foliage Fan
Image
purpleinopp
Jun 4, 2018 1:30 PM CST
Hmm, thinking a bit more, were the shingles laid when it was still kind of cold? That could be a hack to warm up the ground more quickly, both by date and by time of day. But it was described as a path, so probably not...
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

frogdog1
May 1, 2019 6:36 PM CST
I just joined this site in order to post a research article put out by the Washington State Dept of Ecology about shingles: SADLY, I CANNOT POST THE LINK TO THE ARTICLE BECAUSE THIS SITE WON'T ALLOW, SO LET'S JUST SAY, ASPHALT ROOFING SHINGLES HAVE LOTS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF TOXIC CHEMICALS, INCLUDING COPPER WHICH MAY NOT SEEM CHEMICALLY, BUT IT IS.

Part of me thinks we should all absorb the toxicity we are putting into the environment by our very existance. When we reroof our houses, the old shingles go somewhere, and since many landfills are filled to capacity, well, the crap we produce goes somewhere. Think ocean, think buried, think impoverished nations willing to take our trash for cash.

The other part of me thinks I wouldn't want to deal with a toxic waste dump in the backyard of my own little castle. Ultimately, the selfishness for wanting to give my only child a little bit of a chance to have something (like health or a small inhertence that doesn't involve the nightmare of an unloadable house) wins out and I won't be making asphalt pathways, though the idea of not having to weed eat paths is tempting.
Name: Keith W
Southwest Missouri (Zone 6b)
Image
keith8800
May 1, 2019 8:55 PM CST
Why would any gardener put something in their garden that they wouldn't put in their compost pile. Do you know anyone who puts shingles in the compost pile? Just a thought.
Smile all the time
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
May 2, 2019 8:13 AM CST
keith8800 said:Why would any gardener put something in their garden that they wouldn't put in their compost pile. Do you know anyone who puts shingles in the compost pile? Just a thought.


As someone brought up earlier though, does that mean that it isn't safe to water a garden with a rain barrel?
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 2, 2019 9:29 AM CST
Unless you are going to go out and lick the shingles you are not in danger from lead.
To really scare you, you can get genuine lead roofing. It oxidizes with exposure and gets a non-soluble. patina.
It also lasts several hundred years.
I would not use it because it will break down and make removal a pain in the buttocks similar to pea gravel.

If you have ever seen a roof edge with moss, that alone should tell you there is nothing in shingles that is going to cause some sort of mass poisoning.
Sally is correct though, using some thing that does not breathe for a path can possible keep it too saturated.

They did a study in New Zealand of rain water collection tanks, in which water has limited draw down and found 69 percent exceeded World lead standards, they gave no percentage, but found a concentration of E.Coli lower than that found in other studies.
These tanks are only used for drinking in dire circumstances.

Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep....

Name: Lauri
N Central Wash. - the dry side (Zone 5b)
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Seed Starter Greenhouse Foliage Fan Vegetable Grower
Organic Gardener Dog Lover Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
lauribob
May 2, 2019 9:51 AM CST
@RpR Hilarious! How long are you planning to live that you're worried about removing the lead roof that lasts hundreds of years?
More costumes, less uniforms!
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 2, 2019 12:43 PM CST
lauribob said:@RpR Hilarious! How long are you planning to live that you're worried about removing the lead roof that lasts hundreds of years?

The way things are going, hopefully not much longer. Rolling on the floor laughing
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
May 2, 2019 3:16 PM CST
frogdog1 said:I just joined this site in order to post a research article put out by the Washington State Dept of Ecology about shingles: SADLY, I CANNOT POST THE LINK TO THE ARTICLE BECAUSE THIS SITE WON'T ALLOW, SO LET'S JUST SAY, ASPHALT ROOFING SHINGLES HAVE LOTS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF TOXIC CHEMICALS, INCLUDING COPPER WHICH MAY NOT SEEM CHEMICALLY, BUT IT IS.

Part of me thinks we should all absorb the toxicity we are putting into the environment by our very existance. When we reroof our houses, the old shingles go somewhere, and since many landfills are filled to capacity, well, the crap we produce goes somewhere. Think ocean, think buried, think impoverished nations willing to take our trash for cash.

The other part of me thinks I wouldn't want to deal with a toxic waste dump in the backyard of my own little castle. Ultimately, the selfishness for wanting to give my only child a little bit of a chance to have something (like health or a small inhertence that doesn't involve the nightmare of an unloadable house) wins out and I won't be making asphalt pathways, though the idea of not having to weed eat paths is tempting.


Copper is a natural substance, not a toxic chemical. As was pointed out, people use roof rain off as a water source for gardens or even into rain garden areas-the plants thrive. Around here when someone tears off a roof, they are recycled into roadway material, or as in my case-have a second round of life as an underlayment for pathways in the garden.

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Monkey Flower"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.