Best way to dispose of diseased plants?

General    near Johnstown, PA

I think about this every summer when some of my plants have inevitably developed powdery mildew or worse. If I have to pull up any diseased plants I tend to bag them and toss them in the trash but I do try to be environmentally friendly and I find myself wondering are there any alternatives to disposing of the waste that wont threaten my healthy plants? Are there particular infections which are safe to compost for example? How else could I discard diseased plant matter?

Posted by: Larry Pelenski (4 points) Larry Pelenski
Posted: June 27, 2013


Generally, I chop my diseased plants up as fine as I can and mix them back into the contaminated soil. After I find any aggressive diseases I'll write the plant type and date on grade stakes and post them at the corners of the garden bed. These let me know that the soil may be contaminated with a disease so that I won't replant the same crop in that bed for the next two years.This gives the soil time to completely break down any plant remains that may be carrying the disease.

Posted by: J.D. Archer (31 points) J.D. Archer
Posted: June 27, 2013

Truthfully, unless you want to run the risk of infection from prior seasons plants which can remain active in a compost pile, I burn mine. Then I know the ashes are safe for the compost pile.

Many folks do mix diseased plants in with their compost, but that is the same risk as using unclean pots and containers for new healthy plants. If in doubt, burn all traces to be sure all disease is destroyed.

Posted by: Shi1 (8 points) Shi1
Posted: July 24, 2013

I compost everything (except thorny plants), but I haven't had any especially bad diseases. Also, since I garden at community gardens, it's impossible to segregate my plants from diseased populations.

Last year my tomatoes got fungal diseases after a heavy October rainfall, so I composted them in a separate container and used that compost in an area where I don't plant tomatoes.

Powdery mildew needs living plant tissue to survive, so I don't worry about composting pea or cucurbit foliage.

Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: June 27, 2013

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