It turns out the twisted shrub understory in my Virginia oak/maple/beech woods is Mountain Laurel, which is highly toxic. Turns out that burning Mountain Laurel releases smoke that paralyses respiratory function. Honey from mountain laurel flowers is somewhere between upset stomach and poisonous. The leaves are toxic to livestock and children.
I have had five acres for only a few months now. We are planning for chickens next March, sheep maybe May,and horses in a few years. So longterm I am heading for more pasture, or at least enough culling to plant trees I choose. Only one of maybe fifty bushes had a bloom worth noticing, and that didn't last. The thick patch grows into neighboring vacant lots.
Any advice on getting rid of it? I'm afraid to end up picking up a branch for kindling. Or is there a way to live with it safely?
Location: Western Washington
posted 3 years ago
This is out of my field of expertise (in fact I have no field of expertise) but If you're dead set on getting rid of it I would consider chipping it and feeding it to mushrooms. Then using the spent substrate as compost.
Freakin' hippies and Squares, since 1986
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