Jenn Hill wrote:We received a truckload of free woody mulch. About a third of the pile is shredded eucalyptus leaves and branches which smells very strong. I was planning to use this for paths and some as bed mulch for the winter. I have read that it can be toxic to cats and chickens both of which will be walking on the paths. Now I'm not sure what to do. Should I compost the eucalyptus or should I try to find someone to take it off my hands? There was also a lot of pine and needles. Is this going to be safe to use even just for paths?
Unless you have obvious reasons not to do so, put it on the paths. It should be fine. I also mulched with pine needles this last year, and have successfully grown a variety of plants through it including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, peas, elephant garlic and leeks.
bob day wrote:seems like the cats et al will probably avoid it if it is too heavy in the air, and as it settles down they should be ok, but eucalyptus is not pine needles, so caution/ observation seems prudent maybe the best thing is to do a test before making a full committment to it, spread some in a control area and see what the animals do, especially the chickens since they are most likely to try and scratch in it, but most of the time, if animals have a choice they will avoid toxic plants, and when the toxicity has faded, so will their avoidance
Now that I think about it, I chopped up eucalyptus and mixed it in the path mulch in front of my shed which my chickens scratch through. As for eating toxic plants, they ate the leaves off my rhubarb to the point there were none left. It didn't seem to do them any harm. They may be stupid, but they tend to make decisions in their best interest, excepting clumsiness like knocking over food and water.