I just got off the phone with a very helpful young man at my local Home
Depot. I was gathering info from him on the prices of redwood, cedar and
composite planking that I want to make grow boxes from. When I mentioned
to him that I was going to make grow boxes he suggested that I use
treated lumber, quickly adding, as if he anticipated my protest, there
is no longer any arsenic used in the treating process and nothing is
used that would be harmful.
I would appreciate any thoughts on this. I'm still a bit hesitant about
using treated lumber for grow boxes for vegetables but it would sure
save a lot of money if I could.
What do you think?
If that is your yardstick for safety, try cutting WRC (Western Red
Cedar) without a mask for a couple of board feet. The stuff is far
harsher on the lungs IMHO. Now, I'll give you that the chemicals in
treated are probably worse for you, but a dusk mask is pretty much
advised for ALL wood, not just treated.
Most woods are not good to breathe... ;-)
I had a buddy that made knives once and did a LOT of woodwork.
He once showed me a list of "toxic woods" that were harmful to breathe
the dust of.
It was quite extensive.
Wearing a dust mask when you cut or carve anything that raises dust that
can be inhaled is not good for you.
This is a common topic of discussion on egg art lists. Eggshell dust is
also very bad.
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...
There is no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the
I haven't tried it but it is a good suggestion. I recently purchased a
book "The Southern Garden Advisor" by Barbara Pleasant and she
recommends it. That stuff should last for a very long time and is
immune to termites (a big problem here). I plan on using it for my next
Oh, btw, the new stuff is ACQ. It is teated with "Alkaline Copper
Quaternary" which is copper and some sort of biocide (I'd think about
that a little).
Personally, I would NOT use treated lumber for boxes where I will grow
edibles. While use of CCA (Copper Chromium Arsenate) is basically
banned in the USA, that doesn't mean there are no health risks
associated with lumber treated with other products. Remember, the other
treatments also involve poisons, like copper. You might find this USDA
In particular, click on the link in the upper right for the FAQs. At
the bottom there are a bunch of other links. I found the one on the
alternative types of treated wood interesting.
Most of the new treated lumber is treated with alkaline copper quat (ACQ
types B and D) and copper azole (CBA-A, CA-B). Yes, there safer than the
old CCA treated wood, but still not something I want in my garden.
Hi. Something else to think about is the fact that treated wood will still
be eaten by termites after a few years anyway. It just takes a little while
Cedar on the other hand will last for much longer before the little buggers
will get into it. I have seen fence posts of cedar that had been used for
about 10 years and they had some damage, but didn't have to be replaced.
Treated landscape timbers on the other hand, were pretty well used up after
a little over 4 years.
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