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May 14, 2010



We used pressure treated wood for our beds about 3 years ago. The trick is to line the wood with plastic so that the soil never actually touches the wood. The toxic chemicals disappear within a few years (so I have read) at which point it would be safe to remove the plastic. In theory. Cedar would have been my first choice, but PT is so much cheaper I decided the extra work lining the beds was worth it. And like I said - 3 years, no arsenic poison.
Raised beds are definitely the way to go - I don't think you mentioned how much easier it is on your knees and back when you're mucking around.

Renee Garner

Claire-I've read arguments for and against pressure treated wood, and also about the trick to use plastic.
I still wouldn't recommend it {my personal opinion} because the chemicals don't actually disappear, just seep into the ground and, subsequently, the groundwater while the plastic is off-gassing straight to the roots of your plants.

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Folks, didn't the EPA ban the kind of pressure-treated lumber that contains arsenic several years ago, at least for home use? I think this worry is out of date.


Beth, my worry is about the chemicals in general, not necessarily arsenic. However, from what I understand, the EPA only suggested manufacturers move from CCA (arsenic) treated wood to other options. The wood is still treated with pesticides and fungicides.

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