We have a pittosporum hedge and I would like to mulch the prunings and use them on our garden. I have been told that using fresh pittosporum mulch is not safe but I can’t find out why not.

1 Answer 1


Pittosporum has a survival mechanism that 'selects' who gets to eat its leaves and who shouldn't. Some animals find it horribly bitter and others are attracted to the chemistry in this plant; Pittosporum Click on 'Resins' as well within the article.

There is a more important aspect I would like to point out. Non decomposed organic matter HAS to be decomposed before soil organisms are able to eat it, poop it, mix it in the soil. Your kitchen scraps, weeds, leaves, tiny branches, shredded cardboard should all be put in one area to decompose together. Add a little nitrogen to aid the decomposition. Keep moist not soggy. Decomposers have to have nitrogen for energy to do their job. Once the decomposers have thoroughly decomposed the raw organic matter the chemical composition has changed dramatically. Decomposed organic material will not look like the original material at all.

Fresh or non decomposed Pittosporum leaves would be cause for concern.

I can't tell you exactly why right now, chemically, grins but someone will add far more information to answer your question, might be me but I wanted you to stop throwing scraps of stuff on your beds. Far better to have a composting area with a few different piles, be able to turn and aerate the piles. Throw some nitrogen into the mix to 'feed' the decomposers.

Also, this is an attractant for rats, mice, possum, raccoon, deer...birds...bear. You can easily cover your decomposition piles to control moisture and aeration and minimize free loaders. Place your compost pile as far as you are able from your garden and home.

  • Is the top of your hedge narrower than the base? This is a big deal for the health of your hedge. A slight angle makes a huge difference.
    – stormy
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 9:38
  • Thanks for responding, @stormy - my hedges are a bit uncontrolled ("natural" :) ) at the moment, partly due to the hassle of disposing of the prunings. I had hoped that buying a mulcher might be the answer, but it sounds like no unless I am willing to compost them. Commented May 28, 2018 at 0:30
  • 1
    Any material that is not decomposed should not be used on top of your garden soil. You need a place in your yard to dump grass clippings, chopped up branches, kitchen waste...be able to turn it now and then. Use it to top your soil once it is decomposed. Thoroughly decomposed. You just have to have an area; ummm, 20'X6'? Half that? to dump your raw compost and allow it to decompose. Cuddled up like that will cause more heat, throw some nitrogen on your compost to feed and rejuvenate the decomposers. They have to have nitrogen for energy to do their job.
    – stormy
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 0:43
  • 20' x 6' is basically my backyard :( But thanks for your advice! Commented May 28, 2018 at 1:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.