When Can I Plant Vegetables in Soil That Was Sprayed for Termites?

Termites in and around a home can be removed by many different methods. A common procedure is to treat the dirt with sprays or injections of pesticides, known as termiticides. Previously, chlorinated hydrocarbons, that can be effective but potentially damaging to this environment, were used. Most pest control businesses use safer methods and comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state and local authorities regulations and recommendations. The best termiticides remain in the ground for several decades, however, and treated areas might not be acceptable for growing vegetables.

Termiticides Contaminate Soil

To repel or destroy termites, termiticides need to remain in the ground for a protracted time period. Termiticides are not easily washed away by ground moisture or rain. Normally, they are not readily taken up by plants. However an Arizona State University study showed a widely used termiticide, containing the active ingredient fipronil, was taken up by the roots of wheat plants. After several decades, the concentration of termiticide declines, but unless the identity and dirt concentration of this termiciticide is known, it might not be safe to plant vegetables in treated soil.

Keep the Distance

Normally, only dirt close to the house or building contains a worrisome concentration of termiticide. As farther-away plants develop, nevertheless, their origins may reach the termiticide-contaminated dirt. To be secure, plant a vegetable garden at least 3 to 4 feet away from the edge of the treated construction.

Eliminate Topsoil

If you have limited space to establish your vegetable garden, you can plant close to the treated area by removing the existing topsoil and replacing it with fresh topsoil. You can acquire new topsoil in a distant, uncontaminated region of your lawn or purchase totes or bulk topsoil in a garden center. Dig down to approximately 12 inches to eliminate existing dirt and replace it with exactly the same quantity of fresh topsoil. This is a labor-intensive procedure. If you plant close to the house or put wood mulch up to the house, you might encourage maternal invasions.

Build Raised Garden Beds

Another option for planting a vegetable garden near or on termiticide-contaminated ground is to use raised garden beds. You may build raised garden beds yourself or purchase garden bed kits. Utilize wood, metal, plastic, brick, stone or concrete blocks to the sides of the raised beds. Avoid wood treated with toxic chemicals. Some forest — like cedar, redwood and eucalyptus — will last more than other woods. Metal can rust or bend and plastic will deteriorate due to exposure to sunlight’s ultraviolet rays. Bricks, stones and concrete blocks are heavy but will last longest and appear appealing. Make your mattresses over 12 inches tall and fill them with fresh topsoil and compost.

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