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Will my city's composting program render infected plants safe to use?
August 1, 2014 12:05 PM   Subscribe

I have a vicious spider mite infestation on some of my tomato plants and am planning to discard the worst ones to protect the others. I read that I shouldn't compost the infested plants so as not to spread the infestation. My green waste bin goes to city composting. Do the massive compost piles they use generate enough heat to kill pathogens and render this safe (i.e. so I'm not putting horrible spider mites into other people's gardens, since this city compost gets used by lots of people) or do I need to put these nasty plants in the trash?
posted by fingersandtoes to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Around where we live they heat the municipal compost enough to kill everything in it, so that weeds don't get spread around the city when the compost is used. I think if it's heated enough to kill weed seeds it's bound to be heated enough to kill mites.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:22 PM on August 1


It's probably fine, but your city's composting program probably has a website that will help you verify.

Most cities use systematic, large-scale composting processes that get much hotter than home compost.
posted by momus_window at 12:23 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Yes, industrial-sized compost piles generate enough heat that the end product is very dead. Even domestic compost heaps can spontaneously combust, to give you some idea of the temperatures involved.
posted by pipeski at 1:10 PM on August 1


Since our compost (SF) takes bones and meat and other things that backyard compost piles can't generally handle, yep, it definitely gets hot enough to kill mites.
posted by rtha at 1:19 PM on August 1


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