We have a huge holly bush that is grown almost into a tree size. We want to trim back most of it. It has the sharp pointy leaves and loaded with green berries (so this is how I identified it was Holly). Is it ok to trim off the small twigs, leaves and berries and throw them in compost pile? Reason I ask is I know the berries are poisonous.
Yes, feel free to put them in the pile, they will not cause any issues. Other poisonous organic material is often composted--potato leaves, rhubarb leaves, nightshade weeds, etc. it will all break down in the decomposition process.
I'm not sure the leaves are actually poisonous anyway, in the New Forest in England the commoners cut holly trees in the winter so the horses can eat the top leaves (which are not prickly). I will say though that they take an age to rot, it might be a good idea to put them through the lawnmower first.
posted 4 weeks ago
Skandi Rogers wrote:I'm not sure the leaves are actually poisonous anyway, in the New Forest in England the commoners cut holly trees in the winter so the horses can eat the top leaves (which are not prickly). I will say though that they take an age to rot, it might be a good idea to put them through the lawnmower first.
Yeah I'll lawnmower over the leaves and small twigs. Mower good to go over say 1/4" diameter twigs? It's a standard residential mower. I do know the berries are poisoinous and the twigs are LOADED with them right now. Green.
Any toxicity wouldn't come into contact with food, would it? Once the compost breaks down, I would imagine that any toxins would also break down.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
All hollies produce a berry that sustains several species of birds during the harsh winter.
Although holly berries aren't poisonous to birds, they are toxic to humans.
As long as you aren't eating the berries, you should be fine.
The toxic compounds are broken down in two stages, the heating stage of a compost heap starts the process then when the heap cools the fungi will come to life and take care of the rest of the breaking down of the holly berry toxin.