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Veg Garden from Pressure Treated wood??

Posted by ChrisMansell Florida (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 9:46


I want to make a vegetable garden, or a raised planter, from reclaimed wood. The wood is sourced from my neighbours old fence. I was told that it MAY be pressure treated, and if it is, that I shouldn't even do ANYTHING with it because of the possibility of arsenic poisoning and other dangers...

Can someone please help me to identify if it is pressure treated or not? Google has many vague answers, about color and possible imprints, but it's 22 years old and all signs could have faded....

Can anyone help me, or tell me where I can go to get help? Thank you in advance,


Here's a link to another forum I posted on with photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of the wood

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Veg Garden from Pressure Treated wood??

  • Posted by ZachS z5 Littleton, CO (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 10:33

it does not *look* like pressure treated wood to me. I've always seen a sort of greenish hue to PT lumber (which I imagine would still be present on the parts that were covered, like the spot where the hinge was hung and is still sporting a fresh bright yellow color). But I have been known to be wrong before.

RE: Veg Garden from Pressure Treated wood??

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 11:31

As old as it is any hazardous chemical it might have contained have long since leached out.

Looks like it has been stained more than once and then painted so assuming it wasn't an old lead-based paint, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.


RE: Veg Garden from Pressure Treated wood??

I agree with digdirt. It doesn't look like it but it still MIGHT be pressure treated, but it's doubtful that any poisonous chemicals are in high enough concentration to be of danger. Keep in mind, even an apple has arsenic in them! :) Here's my suggestion: take one of the boards and put a bottomless pot on it (like say an empty milk carton with the bottom cut out, or even a styrofoam cup.) Plant a few seeds in the pot of cucumber and beans. They will be your canary-in-the-coal-mine testers. Cukes and beans are very sensitive to chemicals, so if they croak shortly after sprouting they are probably being poisoned. If they live ...the wood is okay to use.

RE: Veg Garden from Pressure Treated wood??

The old PT wood/lumber had a greenish hue. But what they have now has redish color.
Your neighbor's old fence has been weathered for years and supposing that originally it had bad chemicals, it has leached out already. BUT, i would not use that stuff anyway. You spend time and energy to make a raised bed/planter and it falls apart the next year or so.
Both HD and Lowes in my area are selling cedar lumber (5/8" - 5 1/6" x 6') for about 2 bucks. They are perfect for planters and small raised beds. I have used a lot of them.

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