River
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Are all leaves created equal

We have a local fm station that has a 2 hour show every Sunday am on gardening.
You can call in and ask questions. It's hosted by bill finch. So he was talking to someone a few weeks back about nematode problems. The person had a small garden & he talked about rotation & he also said he will pile up leaves in the fall 4ft high down a row he plans on putting his transplant tomatoes. Makes sense since tomatoes will grow if the leaves break down quickly enough, which brings me to my statement about all leaves being equal.

Now I know pecan and leaves that are thin like that compost much quicker then heavier leaves. Sometimes it's hard to be picky, get what u have access to. So today I went to a person I know who has a lot of leaves. Some of them are camellias and other large bushes. Lots of live oak leaves and etc. I realize they are all carbon & I do mix them. I made the comment on the radio show that all leaves aren't created equally. I was alluding to leaves which compost quickly vs those that don't..

My question is do u think certain leaves have more or less nutrition then others or is carbon carbon?
Mobile al zone 8b

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JC's Garden
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

Here's a link that will shed a little light on this.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... f=11&t=924

It's long but worth the read.

toxcrusadr
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

I read the first couple pages of that thread and scanned the big list. It's a great list but takes awhile to sift through for various 'leaves' to compile data. And, you don't really know whether the values stated for 'Oak Leaves' are for GREEN oak leaves or dry brown fall leaves. There is almost certainly a difference in nutrient content.

However, with compost 'it's all relative', so if we assume all the leaves in that table are either green or brown and that we're comparing apples to apples, there are some obvious differences in NPK. I would think there would also be differences in micro-nutrient content.

Having said that, adding compost of any kind will increase soil fertility AND the availability of nutrients - not only compost nutrients but the ones already IN the soil. And, if you're returning the leaves from your own yard to the compost and then back into the soil, you're recycling whatever nutrients were taken out of the soil, so it really doesn't matter what's in them.

When I was collecting leaf bags off the curb to make tons of compost, I didn't really worry about what kind of leaves they were.
Tox

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

Agreed. And if you have a variety of different leaves and different greens, then your compost will be a complete additive with all the nutrients from everything - every macro and micro nutrient your plants could want.
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imafan26
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

Got a question, what about black walnnut leaves. The tree is aleopathic, would the leaves be good in compost or should that be left out?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

Well, in general we say no more than 10% of your compost pile should be any one ingredient. (Where fall leaves may be a bunch of different ingredients if they come from a lot of different trees, but black walnut leaves are one ingredient.) If you stick to this principle and your compost is well broken down, the juglone is broken down too and it will be OK. Don't use just walnut leaves for compost or especially for mulch. Some plants are much more sensitive to juglone than others, but some of the common garden veggies like tomatoes are very sensitive. Also the greatest concentration of juglone is in the roots.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

toxcrusadr
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

If I remember correctly, most of the juglone in walnut trees is not in the leaves. It's given off by roots for one thing, to inhibit growth surrounding the tree. I have not heard of anyone having problems with composted walnut leaves. Somewhere on the web is some data on juglone content of the various parts of the tree.
Tox

toxcrusadr
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ho/ho-193.pdf

Says that the amount in leaves is smaller but not zero, and that some juglone can survive composting, and do not use leaf litter as mulch.

https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews ... glone.html

This one says juglone will decompose in 2-6 months after which compost can be used around even sensitive plants.
Tox

imafan26
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Re: Are all leaves created equal

As far as compost goes, I do believe all leaves are not created equally. Here we avoid using palm leaves and coconut husks in compost. It is hard to shred and can take upwards of two years to compost. Those are better for the garbage to energy plant.

Only the big pile of compost gets hot enough. The smaller demonstration piles rarely get hot enough so we only use clean leaves, none with disease or pests on them. And no weeds. Nut sedge will survive composting anyway.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.



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