Type of Wood for Outdoor Enclosure

Bernadette'sMom

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Today at Lowes I was asking the sales man which kind of wood I would need for an outdoor project. He stated treated and then asked what I was building. I stated that I was building an outdoor enclosure for my Russian Tortoise, he told me he was not sure if the chemicals would be safe for her. I wanted to ask about this here and find out what wood is used by members here before buying hopefully tomorrow. I did look into cedar as a possibility as well.

Another question I have for the enclosure is that I bought some aluminum pans (the throw away kind from the Dollar Tree) to plant mixed greens, Kale and Arugula so I can take out the pans as needed, will these be ok to use? I just read another thread and the mention of organic potting soil was made and I had bought Miracle Grow (it was an automatic thing to pick that up as I use it in my front flower beds) so I will be going and getting top soil, and got to worrying about the pans now.

Any and all help and comments are greatly appreciated!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Any soil intended to grow people food is good to grow tortoise food.
Also all of my outdoor pens are made of pressure treated lumber.
There has been much debate on the subject but the PC lumber no longer contains arsenic and I've never had an issue
 

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DawnH

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If it were me personally I would not use the aluminum pans. They will rust and lord knows what that can/will do to your planting mix (I am totally OCD and am super over cautious though.) I used the throw away containers (Glad) containers to plant in, if they are safe enough to store food... well, that's good enough for me! Drill holes in the bottom and you are good to go. You can find the really large ones at Wal*Mart. I bought a few and used them for the grass mixes. One planted, one growing and one in the enclosure. As far as the wood goes, if you are building a large pen that won't hold up dirt, I would think the new pressure treated lumber would be okay (I don't know much about this so I would ask a more seasoned member who has built something like this) but if your gonna have planting soil in contact with this on a smaller scale, I would do untreated. For instance, I made a raised bed outdoor oasis for my sulcata and did NOT use pressure treated lumber because I worried it might leach into the soil/plantings. Again, I am a total freak about this type of thing so I don't know how much "merit" my thought process has...lol

Be sure to post pics when you are done!! :D
 

johnsonnboswell

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Make sure the soil doesn't have additives. Those little white styrofoam balls, pearlite & other shiny things can be attractive to tortoises. They can cause impaction when eaten. Soil that is safe for growing may not be safe to have in the enclosure.
 

DawnH

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If it were me personally I would not use the aluminum pans. They will rust and lord knows what that can/will do to your planting mix (I am totally OCD and am super over cautious though.) I used the throw away containers (Glad) containers to plant in, if they are safe enough to store food... well, that's good enough for me! Drill holes in the bottom and you are good to go. You can find the really large ones at Wal*Mart. I bought a few and used them for the grass mixes. One planted, one growing and one in the enclosure. As far as the wood goes, if you are building a large pen that won't hold up dirt, I would think the new pressure treated lumber would be okay (I don't know much about this so I would ask a more seasoned member who has built something like this) but if your gonna have planting soil in contact with this on a smaller scale, I would do untreated. For instance, I made a raised bed outdoor oasis for my sulcata and did NOT use pressure treated lumber because I worried it might leach into the soil/plantings. Again, I am a total freak about this type of thing so I don't know how much "merit" my thought process has...lol

Be sure to post pics when you are done!! :D

I should clarify - when I say "planting soil" I mean whatever dirt you plan on having in to plant it. As everyone has said do NOT use anything with any additives. We blended our own with plain ol' (no additives!) topsoil, cedar mulch and organic peat moss to retain moisture.
 

Bernadette'sMom

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Thank you all! I have a plan and I am hoping that it turns out the way I have in my mind! I will post pics when I get finished!
 
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