Why can't you put rhubarb leaves on the compost heap? © iStock

Why can’t you put rhubarb leaves on the compost heap?

It turns out you can! While we don't advise eating rhubarb leaves, it turns out that you can compost them; we explain why here.

Asked by: Chai Jin, Poole

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Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which is corrosive and a kidney toxin, but this has no significant effect on soil micro-organisms. The leaves will decompose perfectly well as the amount of oxalic acid is low and the molecule doesn’t survive well outside of the plant cells. Eating plants grown in rhubarb-leaf compost is also perfectly safe.


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