Treated Wood

Q. What type of treated wood can I use in the garden without causing damage to my plants or myself?

A. The best wood for garden construction is wood pressure treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). It will not damage plants and will last many years in the garden. When using it for garden seating, such as in picnic tables, check the surface for CCA salt residues, which will look like a dusting of white crystals. If they are present, wash the wood off before using it.

If you want to use wood on a short term basis, perhaps for a year or so in a flower box, plain untreated pine is the most inexpensive wood to use. Structures lined with plastic and having proper drainage holes will last somewhat longer than unprotected pine, but not as long as pressure treated wood.

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