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Mulch using shredded laurel leaves?

ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,198
Just been reading a post about using shreddings to mulch round plants. We have yards and yards of laurel hedging, and the prunings usually get shredded and sent to the tip or put in the green waste collection. I’d assumed that they might be too poisonous to other plants to use as mulch, but am I wrong?
We have acid soil and loads of rhododendrons, pieris and other acid loving plants. It would be great to be able to use all the stuff we generate, but I don’t want to kill off anything!
Would be grateful for the benefit of your experience, thanks.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,053
    I'd layer them up with grass clippings and leave for a while to rot down, but I'd have no fear of them "poisoning anything" even if used fresh.
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,461
    Poison is caused by eating....Prunus laurocerasus...common name cherry laurel.
    See RHS advice on mulch.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,198
    Thanks all for the suggestions. Looks like I will be best to compost the shreddings first. I was hoping I might be able to use them fresh, we do produce tons of the stuff. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,751
    Laurel leaves take a long time to compost but you can add some to your other compost. They are poisonous to humans but not to plants, especially acid lovers, when they are composted. As you have a lot of laurel I would be inclined to put it in the green waste, unless you have a lot of other compost to mix it with.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978
    I’m glad you’ve said about them not being poisonous to plants because over the years, starting about 25 years ago, we planted hundreds of snowdrop bulbs, filling the lawn, since we’ve had our laurel hedge half of the snowdrops have disappeared,  about 4’ in and all along the row of hedging.
    I’ll have to think of another problem now.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,751
    Yes, but I said once composted so they are broken down and mixed with compost. Fresh leaves contain hydrocyanic acid which is very poisonous to humans and plants that like alkali soil would probably not like the leaves decomposing on them.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978
    We always dump them, we don’t even put them on the compost.
    it seems strange that the snowdrops had been there for years and went into decline when the laurels were planted. 
    We've never left any prunings laying.   
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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