I have received telephone poles from county electric companies and old...

Asked October 6, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

I have received telephone poles from county electric companies and old interstate poles used by the state. I would like to repurpose them in my hop field. Some of the bottoms of the poles are soaked in creosote but are very old. I read on this site that this isn't a big problem and they can be used for trellis's of vine plants. These poles will be ideal for my trellis. Do i need to cover or wrap the creosote soaked portions of the poles or will I be alright with them close to rhizomes underground? These poles are old and have been close to bean and corn fields so I don't forsee having a problem but am not sure. Thanks!

Lincoln County South Dakota

1 Response

Using old poles or railroad ties that were soaked in creosote for gardening purposes comes with a lot of controversy. Some say that as long as the poles are old and not longer oozing a black substance they can be used for raised beds in the garden or with flowers. The one thing that they all say is to keep the plants away from the poles. The roots that come into contact with the creosote can stil take up harmful chemicals. The best recommendation is to keep the roots at least 6' from the poles. So although it doesn't kill it can be harmful to us. Because creosote can last for 50 years or more, there is no data showing how much toxin still remians in the wood.