Safe to use Tyres in Gardens?

by Les Boucher
(Sanctuary Point, N.S.W. Aus.)

G'day Folks,
For more years than I care to remember I have been advocating the use of old tyres for use in gardens. At the same time I have had a niggling doubt in the back of my mind about whether any chemicals were leaching out from the tyres and sinking into the ground.

I have just read an article, "Treading Carefully", in Organic Gardener (Australia) July/August 2009 edition written by Jo Immig which also raises this question. I would suggest that it might be an idea to read this before making up your own mind as to whether you wish to use them in your garden.

The article mentions that a recent comprehensive study into the use of crumb surfaces (such as pulverised tyres for playground surfaces and mulches) by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, does raise some concerns including, finding that up to 49 chemicals could be released from recycled tyres.

Rather than rewrite the whole article (and risk prosecution for plagiarism) I'll just encourage you to read what is written in the magazine and I'll list links to the sources that were used for the article.

www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Publications/Tires/62206013.pdf
www.rhs.org.uk/Learning/Research/Projects/heavy_metals_veg.ht
www.theecologist.org
www.epa.vic.gov.au

This may just be because the tyres were pulverised and does not apply to those tyres left whole. The final decision will be yours but as Jo states "....Better safe than sorry."

Les

Comments for Safe to use Tyres in Gardens?

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Jul 25, 2010
Using tyres or tires in the garden
by: Kevin and Kerri, Tas, Aust

Tyres, (or tires as spelled in USA) have been used as planters for a long time in gardens. There has never been any noticeable poisonings! That said, it's the cumulous effect of the many chemicals in our lives can add up and cause problems – without us being able to pinpoint exactly what causes what, so it's wise to seek answers.
Opinions differ using whole tyres as planters, rather than shredded tyres for other uses, but even so, some say zinc can slowly and minutely leach from the tyres as they degrade over a long time apparently, and possibly traces of other toxic chemicals. If you want to be absolutely sure to avoid any possibility of toxic residues, a suggestion is to coat the insides of tyres with a no-toxic natural paint, stain, whitewash or sealer before use.

Oct 16, 2010
Using tires for gardening.
by: Champion spud grower

I have grown my spuds for years in old tires and I'm famous around these parts, well at least with my family and neighbors.

The very best thing tires do is heat up nicely, so with the warm soil the plants get an early start and a very late finish. Put tires in a sunny spot and feel the warmth radiate from them!
I do grow tomatoes and squash in tires also some years, but you have to be around to give them plenty of water and sometimes I'm not. Potatoes don't seem to mind missing the odd drink or two, so I can leave them alone to grow without me having to fuss around and look after them all the time. Dave.

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