[Video] Is Pressure-Treated Wood Okay for Use In the Garden?

This video shares some surprising results from tests done with pressure-treated wood exposed to soil…

One question we often hear from gardeners – both new and seasoned – is whether pressure-treated wood is okay to use in the garden. Some people worry that chemicals may leach from the wood into their soil, and then make its way into their garden crops and eventually, into their own bodies.

When building a raised bed, one of the considerations to keep in mind is that you obviously want your bed frames to last a while. However, when wood is exposed to moisture from being in constant contact with soil, of course it is prone to rot. If you’re going to use wooden frames for your raised beds, you can either choose a harder type of wood such as cedar, which decays more slowly (but can be quite expensive depending on where you live), or you can buy treated wood which has been preserved with certain chemicals plus a pressure treatment process to help slow its inevitable decay.

The most common treatment used today for wood preservation in residential lumber is Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ). This method uses copper accompanied with a biocide to help resist the decay process. Biocides are any chemical or microorganism that deters harmful organisms. Biocides are commonly used in medicine, agriculture, and industries such as forestry.

The video below shares some interesting results from testing wood treated with copper and biocides in contact with soil. While I would not take this as gospel, it does show some results that I found somewhat surprising.

It’s up to you whether you want to risk using treated lumber in your garden. However, keep in mind that if you are growing food for sale, organic certification does not allow the use of treated lumber.

What do you think? Would you use pressure-treated wood in your garden? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and let us know!


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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