From what I have read about Black Walnut the juglone has a shelf life of about 2 months. Our garden area is just outside the root ball of 3 good sized trees and alot of tree debris , nuts, fall into the garden each fall . No problem getting anything to germinate each spring. I imagine the same would be true for buried wood.
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I want to revive this topic. Does English Laurel have any useful function in a permaculture system? It is rampant in Portland, and I'm wondering if it can be used as any support of support species, be it fodder, mulch, or anything else?
Several of the houses I'm looking at buying here in Portland are hedged with English Laurel. If I buy one of these, and if I want to replace this hedge with some kind of fedge, do I want to leave any of the Laurel? Can I use it as mulch, compost, hugel core, etc.?
Laurels contain Hydrogen Cyanide, which is of course extremely toxic. Cyanide gas is released from them when burned or crushed (which is what muching does).
If it can withstand being dried and then burned, it can withstand being composted. Even if your veggies manage not to absorb it somehow (I think it does get absorbed, but im not sure), your soil that you'd be working through will be laden with Cyanide.
I'd avoid it like the plague and I'd guess that Nick S. above is probably plain old lucky.
We let the laurel sit and dry out before chipping. Most complaints I could find online had to do with shredding the fresh leaves.. However it did still have that almondy smell indicating the cyanide. We had no ill effects, it was a pleasant smell..
Actually we were hoping to utilize the additional function of the laurel cyanide to scorch the grass in our orchard but that didnt happen unfortunately. It's apparently broken down by soil bacteria very quickly. Made a great mulch for our apple trees.
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.