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Oak leaves OK??

There is a few oak trees on the property where I live and tons of leaves below them. What I have noticed is that not much grows around these trees. Additionally, I used to park my car under one of the trees and noticed I would get this kind of acidic sap or secretion from the tree that would make dirt harder to rub off. Anyway, are these leaves ok to put in a compost piles and/or use as mulch? How about Redwood tree leaves?? Reason I ask is because I don't know if either could possibly be bad to plants or critters that come into contact with it. Thanks

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Re: Oak leaves OK??

I would use them in my compost.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

I have been using them in my compost pile. The general guideline is no more than 10% any one ingredient (hmmm, I'm sure I have been exceeding that with my oak leaves lately, should think on that more). That doesn't mean only ten percent leaves, but only ten percent oak leaves. As long as you stick to that your compost will stay well balanced and complete.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

Leaves feed the trees and they are the tree's natural mulch. Mulch is weed control. If the tree is old, the roots are probably taking up most of the nutrients anyway and only a few plants like to grow in the shade of any tree anyway. Black walnut should be avoided, but oak leaves should be fine in the compost.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

As imafan said, there are lots of reasons that grass doesn't grow under any one particular tree.

That sap may be sticky but is not necessarily acidic. Oak leaves can be a bit acidic though, but the acidity is in the form of organic acids (vinegar is an organic acid, for example), rather than mineral ones, and those will decompose through bacterial action. Composting tends to bring any ingredients toward a neutral product.

Oak leaves can be a bit waxy and slower to decompose, so shredding with a leaf sucker or mower will make them go faster. I've composted metric tons of oak leaves and the resulting compost is just fine.

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Re: Oak leaves OK??

They decompose very slowly. Best if you can bury them a little.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

They are wonderful for making compost, and as peter says the are slow to decompose compared to most leaves this could be a good and lazy plus if using it for mulch.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

I would use them in compost. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with them.
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Re: Oak leaves OK??

They break down faster if chopped or shredded before composting.

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