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composting toxic plants

 
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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I'm so glad David is here and I can ask this- I have tons of yews that I'm removing, but worry about residual toxicity as they decay. I've mostly been shredding/ chipping the branches and needles. Will the taxine ever break down?

I'm also growing castor beans and don't know what I'm gonna do with the plant residue. Looking for suggestions! Thanks
 
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Hi Will,

I actually use castor as a chop-and-drop plant in my food forest and haven't heard of any issues with its toxicity persisting long-term.

As for yews, I admit my ignorance as to the decay rate of the taxine alkaloid in the soil; however, nature recycles yews all the time. So long as you don't eat the compost, I wouldn't worry about it.
 
Will Holland
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I'm mostly worried about picking those substances back up via mushrooms. From what little I've read online, mushrooms will pick up the taxine and make them not safe to eat.

Glad to know the castor residue isn't a big deal!
 
David Good
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@Will

I think we need to call a scientist and find out - "Hi, could you do some lab work on these boletes for me?"
 
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Location: Illinois
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Will,

I am researching a similar question, (and may end up posting here)- in the meantime, I found this.

http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/forests/woodpro/technotes/toxicity-of-yew-wood-and-roots
 
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