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"Injured" leaves OK for composting? Toplef10"Injured" leaves OK for composting? 1zd3ho10

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"Injured" leaves OK for composting? Toplef10"Injured" leaves OK for composting? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

"Injured" leaves OK for composting? I22gcj10"Injured" leaves OK for composting? 14dhcg10

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"Injured" leaves OK for composting?

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"Injured" leaves OK for composting? Empty "Injured" leaves OK for composting?

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/20/2023, 3:08 pm

We had a cyclone through here a week ago, and now one of my big trees is dropping leaves like there's no tomorrow.  I was going to vacuum them up today for composting, but then I thought -- they're clearly damaged, is this a bad idea?  Could they be harbouring disease now?  In my new tumbler the temperature will hopefully get nice and high, but perhaps this is a risk this beginning composter should not take?
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Post  OhioGardener 2/20/2023, 5:24 pm

I would doubt the leaves that were torn up by the cyclone would have any disease.  Stressed, yes.  But, diseased probably not. The wind would have damaged the veins of the leaves to the point that they could no long support themselves, but composting them should not be a problem. In fact, composting is probably the best way to "dispose" of them.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/20/2023, 7:09 pm

Thanks for this, and I'll do it, but just to be clear my concern was that being damaged, some might have become infected by some pathogen or other after falling from the tree, which I might not want in the compost.  They really don't look like normal fallen leaves; they're a different colour, and many are torn, so there are lots of extra ways infection could get in as opposed to normal ones.  (But then, I guess being "infected" by microbes is what happens during decomposition?!?)
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Post  OhioGardener 2/20/2023, 7:48 pm

The good news is that if compost heats to 160ºF it kills pathogens, and it reaches 160ºF because of the activity of the good microbes.

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 2/20/2023, 11:47 pm

Oh, cool!  Excellent news Smile

I got them all vacuumed and shredded this afternoon, and they filled one of my big 60 litre barrels (about 16 gallons, apparently).  I was amazed at how much there was once I started!  (And I didn't even bother going out on the lawn)

Something occurred to me though, while I was doing it -- since these are not typical fallen leaves do they count as browns?  Or are they really greens?
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