Composting Maple Leaves with Rust

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by johnnyjumpup, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Hi,

    I hope someone can help me. I have 42 large bags of wet sugar maple leaves collected mid November last year. I noticed that quite a few had brown pimples on the surfaces as I was raking them up. Might this be rust? I have quite a few Japanese maples and do not want to risk infecting them with rust.

    I had planned to make a leaf pile down at the bottom of my garden (near the raspberries).
    I was going to shred them and mix them with horse manure to speed up the process. Now I don't want to spread the spores by shredding them. I would like to know the best way to use these leaves. Could I make a pile, add some manure and cover with an old carpet to keep the spores from spreading. Will the rust remain viable even after a year or two. I don't want to introduce disease into my vegetable and flower and shrub beds.

    Should I leave the leaves in the transparent plastic bags for a few years? Should I just bury them in part of the yard and sod over the top?

    Thank you for any help.
     
  2. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  3. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Thanks, Salt Cedar,

    I think they are maple leaf bladder galls. I read the link. Thank you. Thankfully, not rust, then. Any thoughts on best practices for turning them into compost or leaf mould? I see the mites overwinter in bark crevices. Maybe the mites had already exited the leaves by the time I raked them up. It snowed two days after I collected the 43 (!) bags and they are still under a couple of feet of snow. Ever the optimist, I'm hoping the snow will be going soon. I had crocuses and snowdrops, etc blooming this time last year. I am so ready for spring.
     

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