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Composting Pecan Tree Leaves and Juglone


November 20, 2021

I live in Las Cruces in the valley. I zoomed with you through the Desert Blooms composting meeting on Wednesday. Excellent presentation. (I began composting for the first time a little over a year ago with decent results. I did however follow the general guidelines on the YouTube channels. You gave a different perspective for our climate. Thank you. This fall I have began trying to set up for making leaf mold in cages as well as plastic bags.)

I have 36 pecan trees as well as a very large mulberry, a couple ash trees and a few fruit trees. I plan to continue to compost using dried leaves as one of the brown items as well as make leaf mold. My question is should I be concerned of using pecan tree leaves in my compost and leaf mold piles with it’s juglone. I realize it is not like a walnut tree but I do want to grow tomatoes and other vegetables that might be affected by juglone. The pecan trees just this week have began to significantly lose their leaves and the mulberry will do the same soon a it comes a good freeze. I notice that the leaves are beginning to mix in the wind and it will be difficult to keep the leaves totally separated. Thank you for your advice in advance.


Answer by JH: Interesting question. I found this from la state u extension and the same applies to pecan leaves: Walnut leaves can be composted because the juglone toxin breaks down when exposed to air, water and bacteria. The toxic effect can be degraded in two to four weeks. … However, composting the wood chips for a minimum of six months allows the chemical to break down to a safe level even for plants sensitive to juglone.

Answer by JZ: Good to hear about your composting efforts.  I have no personal experience in composting juglone containing leaves. My sense is that the decomposition(composting) process will biodegrade the juglone. 

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