Leaves with scale into compost? - Knowledgebase Question

Belford, NJ
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Question by greenst
November 2, 1997
Leaves from my neighbor's tree fall into my yard and I'd like to use them in my compost pile. I notice they have alot of round, hard growths on them which I guess must be a kind of scale. I wonder if that means I should put them in the trash. What if they were to dry out completely?

Answer from NGA
November 2, 1997
They may be scale or some sort of fungus, both of which have evolved to survive just about anything! Most should die if your compost really heats up (140-160F). The saving grace is that if the host plant is a tree, the likelyhood of the pest infesting your garden plants is low. To be absolutely sure, you can have the extension service (908/431-7260) identify the "growths". Go ahead and rake the leaves, but pile them separately until you get the okay from extension.

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