Composting Gum Leaves: Step By Step Guide

Composting Gum Leaves

Eucalyptus trees, often recognized as eucalypts or gum trees, are among the most abundant species in Australia. These evergreens lose a significant amount of their leaves, branches, twigs, and gumnuts beneath their canopy. Because this debris does not degrade quickly, it can last for a long period.

Gardeners may be tempted to harvest these readily accessible eucalyptus leaves to add to their compost or use as a mulch across their garden beds, but this is a terrible idea!

Plants and trees ought to share resources when growing in adverse environments. Sometimes the best defense is an offense to stay alive. Most trees and plants have developed a defense mechanism called allelopathy, in which they emit inhibitory compounds to prevent neighboring plants from developing and growing.

Allelopathy comes from the Greek terms allelon, which indicates “of each other,” and pathos, which denotes “to suffer,” resulting in “to suffer from each other.”

How to Compost Gum Leaves

When appropriately managed, eucalyptus is harmless to use in compost, according to a University of California study (i.e., incorporated into the growing medium). The eucalyptus’ toxicity is deemed mild by the composting process, particularly if you’re operating with a hot compost pile.

Eucalyptus leaves are known green plant material and will contribute nitrogen to the composting process. You’ll want to carefully combine eucalyptus clippings or leaves with carbon-based materials like newspaper, cardboard, or other dry leaves or plant matter to get the most out of them.

If you still have worries, the University experts recommend composting eucalyptus in a different hot compost pile, preserving it well hydrated, and turning it frequently to maintain the mix hot for a longer duration.

Once the eucalyptus has been composted thoroughly, you can conduct a germination test to determine toxicity by starting 10-12 fast-growing seeds like radishes in the compost. The eucalyptus toxicity might be deemed mitigated by the composting process if the bulk of the seeds sprouts.

The result is that if you want to use young eucalyptus leaves in your surroundings, you should put them on woody landscape plants in a home garden environment.

In summary, the following are ways to compost gum leaves.

Use dry leaves because they disintegrate into smaller pieces and decompose more quickly. When fluffy, expand it out to be no more than 7 or 8 centimeters. This will be reduced to only a few millimeters.

You’ll need a nitrogen supply, so I’m using pelletized manure, but fresh manure would suffice. The secret to vital, robust compost is a variety of feed sources, therefore this is merely green prunings from the garden sprinkled abundantly.

You’ll discover that this will dissolve down in a couple of months if you mix it up and then soak it down with enough water to calm it all down.

Read also: Check out the 5 best composting books

How to Safely Use Eucalyptus Leaves in the Garden

Don’t battle nature; cooperate with it! Collect the plant material that eucalypts produce and use it to mulch near them. It will not affect them since they use allelopathic chemical defenses to keep the soil surrounding their canopy free of other plants.

Offer them what they’re looking for! In the summer, the mulch will decrease evaporative dehydration from the soil, lowering water needs, and as it gradually decomposes, it will aid in the recycling of nutrients from falling leaves.

Read also: Learn About Composting Leaves And Pine Needles

Uses Of Eucalyptus Leaves

The oils and chemicals present in eucalyptus leaves have a wide range of applications for humans. It is a favorite home potpourri and is ingested by animals like the koala.

Humans have been using the essential oil for cold and sinus relief for ages in countries such as Asia. To meet high customer requirements, manufacturing firms are known to produce a large amount of waste in the production of essential oils.