Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe for Raised Garden Beds?

Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe for Raised Garden Beds?

Pressure-treated wood is an option for many outdoor garden situations. Many gardeners have concerns and questions about using pressure-treated wood for raised garden beds. Gardener Scott reviews the history and science behind wood that has been pressure treated with fungicide and pesticide chemicals. (Video #340)

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  1. Urban Gardening with D.A. Hänks on April 22, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Okay, I have to ask, what is with the mailbox in the garden? I’ve seen this on several channels and cannot figure it out. What gives?!

  2. Nancy Hong on April 22, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks~ I’ll stop feeling bad about using pressure treated for my garden. For whatever reason, it was actually cheaper for treated wood than untreated and that’s what I could afford.

  3. jpc6204 on April 22, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    If I remember correctly you mentioned the use of lin seed oil as a preservative. What does the science say about this?

  4. Raymond Fast on April 22, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    A lot of gardeners are also recyclers. The PT wood you pruchased this weekend at the big box store may be fine, but be careful when using wood obtained from an old deck or outbuilding that has been torn down – especially if you don’t know how old it is.

  5. Tom Jeffries on April 22, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Excellent information and topic.

  6. suffolkshepherd on April 22, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    The untreated wood will break down quicker in parts of the country with humidity and more rainfall too. Your climate is much drier and that wood is showing wear already. It breaks down real quick where I live . Thanks for the this information. I really need to use the pressure treated.

  7. Rocco Conte on April 22, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I’ve been using p.t. wood for my beds scince the early 90s ,and it’s still there and not a problem,the old stuff lasts a lot longer , the epa has caused many problems in construction and other businesses.

  8. Jessie Li on April 22, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Could you please explain if the treated mulch sold in Homedepot is safe for gardening. Thank you so much,

  9. Janice Jurgensen on April 22, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Once again, thank you for being so clear and explaining so thoroughly about the wood. I have an accidental bed not treated and 2 that are treated. I agree with your findings.

  10. Rose Famiyeh on April 22, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Hi master garden thank . This one of the topics I been waiting for . I have been worried about
    Bed for two years . I have pressure treated wood. I bought them from Home Depot they written Micronized copper Azole. Is this also ok for garden bed .

  11. envie d'apprendre on April 22, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    If what was believed safe has been proven wrong in 1930, 1980, and 2000, who can be sure of today’s conclusions? I always tend to lean on God’s design more than man’s design. Natural over synthetic. Artificial is NOT always bad, but if I can avoid chemicals altogether, I will. I’d like to learn more about alternatives to wood. I’ve yet to seriously undertake gardening. I once built a standing multi-level herb planter from untreated pine. More of a cheap project than a thoughtful plan. Needless to say, a few months in FL and it started falling apart.

  12. Jessie on April 22, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Is Cedar Wood from a fence safe for garden beds ?

  13. SeattleDan R on April 22, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Once again…I learned something new! Thanks for the video. I’ve always thought that currently pressure treated lumber at the store was Copper Arsenate. I avoided it and paid an arm and a leg for cedar. Gardening is hard with only 1 arm and 1 leg remaining.

  14. No Body on April 22, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    i torched my untreated fir boards. Cut them to size and burned them all around before screwing them together.
    Not applying diesel or motor oil like for posting only heat from torch

  15. Rebecca Runkle on April 22, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Great video – detailed but to the point! Do you use any sort of sealer for additional waterproofing or is the pressure treated wood fine on its own?

  16. Kevin Aschim on April 22, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    I’m thinking of charring cheap pine to create a barrier between soil, moisture, fungi and the raw wood inside.

  17. Gale Jenness on April 22, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve been using pressure treated wood in my garden for 10 plus years and it hasn’t killed anyone yet! LOL My partner has bad knees so she can’t get down at ground level to harvest or pull weeds. So I built it her raised bed tables on 4×4 legs with a waterproof plywood covered in plastic laminate that the raised bed box is made of. Build these over 10 years ago and they all still look like new no signs of degrading at all. These materials are not cheap, but considering how long this material lasts and not having to rebuild the raised beds or tables every few years or so. The cost as far as I’m concerned more then pays for itself eventually over time. Btw, I’m a woodworker by trade and been working with pressure treated materials most my life and never used gloves nor masks and I’m 65 years old now and no signs of being poisoned from the pressure treated wood yet! I’m way more concerned about chipboard or particleboard that comes with warning stickers stating the materials may have cancer producing chemicals in it. Don’t see no warning stickers on the pressure treated wood as of yet anyway!

  18. AtomicZombieAndroid on April 22, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Great info Scott! It is obvious that you did a lot of research for this video. Have you ever considered plastic lumber for making garden beds? I’ve also seen beds made out of what look like flat copper looking sheets of metal welded together at the corners for beds.

  19. Kansas Gardener on April 22, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    This has been talked about for some time on YouTube Scott. I commented on videos 3 or ,4 years ago. I would now say that I would not use wood. Not because it’s bad for you but because it just doesn’t last long and or it warps. If I had to do it again I would not use wood of any kind. 😊

  20. The Original Shotgun Outdoors on April 22, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Excellent video! Very well done and very informative. I liked and now subscribe to your channel. I am new at gardening and recently purchased 20 acres of land. Trying to make my own fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  21. Steven Broadway on April 22, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Great video. Answered some of my questions about safety; well, rather it alleviated concerns I initially had. Seems that many gardeners harbor some skepticism still and are wary of using pressure treated. For me, that’s ultimately what led to my decision to use untreated wood; however, I did treat every side of my wood with a product called “Outdoor Defense Oil” from Real Milk Paint. It was expensive, about $65 for a gallon. The oil is a mixture of pure tung oil (not tung oil finish with metal salts that you find cheaply at a retailer like Home Depot, but food grade tung oil), pine oil, and citrus oil. It not only coated the beds well, 4 coats each side pre-construction, but it smells amazing and provides a nice rich amber color to other unimpressive eastern white pine.

    After construction I was able to treat with about two more coats on the interior and will likely touch it up once a year. The pine and citrus oil provide good treatment against pests, but the oil also contains zinc which acts well in preventing UV damage. Time will tell how it holds up, but it allowed me to have good coverage and treatment, looked nice upon building, and avoid using plastic liners in the garden.

  22. Michael Pallini on April 22, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    I began building my garden 3 years ago and treated lumber was still mostly a no-no. But I thoroughly researched and determined it to be safe. Not only did I use treated but I lined the inside with galvanized and also put the beds on gravel. And I used 4x6s so I should be good for a very long time. I also treat the wood with pure linseed oil every year.

  23. Jeremy on April 22, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    This is some great info, thank you. Didn’t you say in a previous video that you treated the treated wood bed with linseed oil? If so, was that just for added protection?

  24. Marie Miranda on April 22, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for this video. This was exactly the information I was looking for

  25. Andy Mckee on April 22, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you, I was feeling guilty. I would love to send you a few pictures of our mountain top raised bed garden. What is your email?

  26. Detective Mike Varnado on April 22, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Pressure-treated wood. You bet. Thanks Gardner Scott. I just spent a grand on wood for my veg beds! Feel much better now.

  27. Bruce Wayne on April 22, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    I feel so much better now after watching the video. I started my raised bed garden three years ago and have added beds each year. All but one 10" cedar 4×4 bed are treated 2x4s on the ground and 2x10s on top. I did it this way figuring ground contact would be worse for wear on the boards and roughly 10" of untreated would be "safe". However, I always had a back of the mind nagging feeling about the treated lumber. Now, if I could stop doing most of the now 20 mistakes commonly done with raised beds, I’d be gold!

  28. Fitgirl4Life on April 22, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for clarifying. Home Depot employee told me this when I was buying wood for my now 11 raised beds. Other staff in that department didn’t even know.

  29. Steve D on April 22, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Double check the end tags for the treatment my big box store has 2x12s that aren’t ACQ

  30. hugelpook 5678 on April 22, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    Use cinder blocks instead.

  31. Mark Eddie on April 22, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you

  32. Scott on April 22, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for this reassuring video. I built my first raised bed today after watching one of your videos. All pressure treated from HD. Your system worked great for me and now I don’t need to worry about the chemicals in the wood.

  33. Property Stuff on April 22, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Super helpful! Thanks!

  34. The Natural Human on April 22, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    I understand some concerns but seems like some ppl are very paranoid these days. As you mentioned, most plants would die before integrating into their structure enough toxins to be dangerous to humans

  35. Trenchant Sometimes on April 22, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    creosote is very toxic and is band in use on telephone pole , due to leaching in to well water.

  36. Mark Z on April 22, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    I would recommend checking with the specific manufacturer of the Pressure Treated wood your looking to use. In 2020 I was looking to build 4 raised beds, owner of local Lumber Yard contacted the manufacturer of their pressure treated boards to check safety of the chemicals used. Manufacturer replied that the chemicals used were safe to use around landscaping plants but not safe within 3 feet of plants that would be eaten.

  37. Dennis Wilson on April 22, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    Great Video Will definitely use the treated wood in my next raised Bed. Did some searching on ACQ treated wood and noticed that its recommended to use certain types of nails or screws when using the ACQ treated wood.

  38. Adam Petherick on April 22, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    Another great history lesson thank you no one actually explain the science behind like you do

  39. Bob Johnson on April 22, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    What about treating the wood yourself with something like a deck stain and waterproofer?

  40. The Kitchen Garden with Eli and Kate on April 22, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    This is fab. Thank you for taking the time to do all this research.

  41. Heidi Clark on April 22, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Thank You for explaining about pressure treated wood. Very informative!

  42. Disc Golf Bear on April 22, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    I would avoid older green PT wood.

  43. MangoMilitia on April 22, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    I bit the bullet and went stone.

  44. Cal VandeKolk on April 22, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    Cedar better??

  45. Brian Seybert on April 22, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Room for one more raised bed where a tree stump used to be. Will be using cedar fence pickets vertically as the ground is so uneven. Most of my raised beds are untreated, the costs were prohibited for treated lumber at the time. I did line the interiors with house wrap, stained and sealed the exteriors. I will try and nurse them along and hopefully get some good years out of them.
    Thanks for your research and spreading gardening knowledge.

  46. Raymond Fast on April 22, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    I’d like to know your thoughts on using recycled tires as raised beds and planters. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reports and I’m still on the fence.

  47. Jim Pierce on April 22, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    This is off topic but was wondering if you could companion plant tomatoes and sweet potatoes? I get that regular potatoes would be a bad idea since the 2 crops related and share diseases. Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories so not related to tomaroes so was wondering if you had tried it and if it had worked or not?

  48. YANKEESISTA HOMESTEAD on April 22, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Thank Gardener Scott for this informational gardening subject! Truly appreciated! Take care my friend!

  49. Helen on April 22, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Is painting untreated wood with linseed oil a good option to extend wood life?

  50. JerseyGirl on April 22, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Has anyone ever tried linseed oil to treat untreated wood?

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