Urgent Advise Wanted: Sheet Rock - Good or Bad??

Permacltur at aol.com Permacltur at aol.com
Thu Jul 29 09:47:41 EDT 1999


In a message dated 7/27/99 4:45:24 PM, EFMonaco at compuserve.com writes:

<<Eric,
Contrary to another post, using or not using sheet rock depends on how much
of a purist you are.  Sheetrock is made mostly of gypsum rock fibers, which
are fairly inert.  True, there are some quantities of toxic chemicals in
the glue that holds the paper to the rock, so I wouldn't ingest it
directly.  However, the microorganisms in the soil will probably break that
down over time, much the same way they break down the toxics in newspaper
or cardboard.  Since you're using it in an orchard, there is time for that
to occur.  I have used gypsum board waste before in gardens and in and
around mulched areas.  Admittedly, I haven't done the science to measure
soil toxicity levels or plant uptake.  So much to do.
Gene Monaco>>

I have to agree with Gene on this one.   I would be more concerned with the 
age of the sheet rock and possible heavy metals that formerly were used in 
paints.   This is excellent sheet mulch.   Keep it well back from treetrunks 
so that rodents living under it will not be so likely to strip bark in 
winter.   They won't live there long as the sheets crumble into the soil in 
time.  

I hear the same warnings about the  dread toxins in cardboard box glue used 
in sheet mulch.  While there is something to it, organic soils will break 
down most toxins much faster than soils low in organic activity.   Elemental 
toxins, like lead, mercury, arsenic, etc., cannot be broken down (except in a 
nuclear reaction, not something we promote in our gardens :-)  )

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses, 
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