Since rhubarb leaves are poisonous, I am wondering if it is safe to add Rhubarb leaves to the compost pile, or my composter?
Your question is a good one!
Rhubarb leaves are considered poisonous due to the fact that they contain high levels of Oxalic Acid, sometimes called "ethane diacid".
It would stand to reason that if the leaves are poisonous, then adding them to compost would be a concern.
However, since the oxalic acid is broken down, diluted and pH balanced quite quickly, this is not a concern.
Since humans and animals do not normally ingest matter from a compost, rhubarb leaves should be able to be added safely to the compost.
Further, it has been reported that the level of acid does not inhibit the
microbial action of composting, and that compost including decomposed rhubarb
leaves has not had a detrimental effect on plant growth where this compost has
If you do chose to compost your rhubarb leaves, you may want to cut them apart a bit as they do tend to be "tough". This will also quicken the composting time and avoid them possibly clogging the compost pile.
If you are
composting any rhubarb stalks, they too should be chopped up a bit.
If you have a large number of leaves to compost, you may want to "balance" them out with adding waste such as newspaper or straw to the compost pile at the same time.
If you are interested in making a natural insecticide using rhubarb leaves, and for more information about the leaves of the rhubarb plant,
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