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rhododendron and mountain laurel branches in hugelkultur

 
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Location: black mountain, NC
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I'm new to hugelkultur, so maybe this is a silly question- but is there any issue with using dead rhody and laurel branches (toxic to burn...) in hugelkultur where fruit trees or veggie beds will then be planted? I'd imagine not, since all matter needs to break down anyway.....
 
pollinator
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Bumping this thread because I have the same question. How do people feel about laurel in a hugelkutur? I cut down part of an overgrown laurel hedge a year ago, and have a big stack of it, along with some hawthorn. I'm thinking if it's mixed in with the hawthorn, in smaller proportion, it should be ok. Any thoughts?
 
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Galadriel Freden wrote: I'm thinking if it's mixed in with the hawthorn, in smaller proportion, it should be ok. Any thoughts?



I'm thinking that you're right. There are many things that are 'toxic to burn' because of incomplete combustion -- poisonous compounds don't burn to CO2 and water, they just volatilize and you don't want to be downwind breathing it in. However, if they are rotting in the soil, fungi are oxidizing them without giving them a chance to volatilize and the problem is solved. And with all the rain you have been having in the UK, the fungi must be having a grand time rotting all that wood.
 
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No problem at all with any of these. Laurel gives off cyanide fumes when the leaves are cut/shredded, so make sure you have good ventilation. It passes in a couple of days usually.
 
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