Ask a Question forum: spent sunflower seed shells in the compost?

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Name: Sherry Mason
Austin, TX (Zone 8a)
Feb 18, 2018 7:07 PM CST
So I have heard/read that sunflowers seeds in the shell have some sort of chemical that can deter plant growth; hence, the disappearance of lawn or any greenery under bird feeders. When I rake up the shells under my feeders, should I send them to the city recycling (our city makes a product called Dillo Dirt) OR can I put them in my compost pile? I am talking mass quantities since I am a zealous bird feeding person. I am concerned that using the compost (with sunflower shells) can have a negative effect on my veggie or landscape gardening. Thanks in advance for any opinions offered.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Feb 18, 2018 8:11 PM CST
Yes, there is a chemical produced by sunflowers to fend off plant invaders. I wouldn't put them in my compost pile but I don't think I would send them off to the city composting program to become someone else's problem either.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Sherry Mason
Austin, TX (Zone 8a)
Sep 1, 2018 4:58 PM CST
I spoke with a master gardener and he said I could put them in my compost bin headed to the city recycling/compost making facility. The mass quantities of lawn and garden refuse handled by their operation would not be effected. Great. Now I am not worried about spent Sunflower hulls "poisoning" Austin's Dillo Dirt product.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Sep 2, 2018 6:39 AM CST
The allelopathic effect should be rendered harmless by the decomposition process.

You could also use them to your advantage, to prevent sprouts from occurring in a mulched area of shrubs/perennials.
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