Rhubarb allowed to die down naturally

Please can someone help. Every year I allow the rhubarb to die down naturally. Will this contaminate the soil with toxins from the plant especially the leaves? Will these chemicals be taken back up in the plant and make it more toxic. Thanks for your help.


  • Hi

    I leave  my rhubarb in the ground and have never had any of the problems that concern you.  In fact this year I have some lovely tender rhubarb which we have already started to eat.  I do know that you should not put the leaves in the compost.  However, I shall be digging up the rhubarb this back end, once it has died back in order to split it  and make more new crowns.

  • Hi. Rhubarb leaves are certainly poisonous to eat but i have never heard that you should not let them die back naturally. They need to be left alone near the end of the season so that they can use their leaves to build the crown up for next year and so not to let them die down naturally would be a mistake. I always put the leaves straight onto the compost. Can you tell me why I shouldn't?

  • Green MagpieGreen Magpie Posts: 676

    The leaves are fine to put in compost. They are poisonous to eat, but you're not going to eat your compost, and in any case the oxalic acid will be well diluted. I think if you put in a lot of leaves at once, they may inhibit the breaking down of the compost, but the amount most people would put in from a couple of crowns is not a problem.

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