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Composting Diseased Wood


August 5, 2019

Years ago I had a fruitless plum tree in my yard that died.  It had borers. I saved the wood to use in the fireplace but never did use it.  Im wondering if I can use it as bulking material in the cold pile I'm trying to get started.  Somewhere it said not to use diseased organic material.  Would that be considered diseased?  Thank you!


Answer from JZ: Great to hear that you are getting started with your composting setup. Other colleagues may also respond to your question.  Here are my thoughts.

Old dead wood provides no useful nutrition for boring insects, those which may have been in your plum wood are most likely dead. My opinion is that you could safely use the plum twigs as bulking material.

If you are still concerned about the issue, then use the wood in your fireplace.

 There are many bulking sources in the desert: pine needles & cones, sticks and twigs in abundance.

Perhaps others may a have different information / opinion.

Answer by JH: If the borer attack was on an otherwise healthy tree and that caused the tree to die, then the wood can be composted. But pests tend to take advantage of stressed trees. If the borer attack occurred because the tree was already stressed (and possibly dying) from a fungal or other disease, be careful about composting the wood if your compost pile will not heat up to kill the pathogen which can lay dormant.

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