Our elderberry patch (planted in a hugelkultur bed) doubled in size this year, and is now encroaching on other food plants. We've decided to take out one of the shrub clusters, and are wondering if it's safe to shred the brush.
I'm thinking in terms of operator exposure to the glycosides which would become airborne. We know ingesting the glycosides is a problem, what about possible inhalation? (reference: tales of children being poisoned by using the hollow stems for reeds and coming into contact with the toxins that way.) We'll make sure to wash harvests from the surrounding area to wash off any residue which might alight, but...want to make sure nobody gets sick due to exposure during shredding, either. The shredding will happen close to the woodpile, too. So any information re how quickly the glycosides break down when exposed to air, sunshine, light, would be helpful.
I did a search on this site, and more widely online, but haven't come up with a definitive answer to the question of airborne toxicity.
I thought you were afraid of making a zillion new cuttings. Visions of Mickey mouse as the sorcerers apprentice comes to mind, every shred becoming a new elderberry
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We have Mexican elderberries everywhere around here. Although they are "said to be" somewhat toxic, I've never heard of anyone suffering any effects from handling them. The toughest problem is getting them out of the ground, as they develop large root systems for such a small tree.
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