Collect Horse Chestnut leaves separately

12th November 2021

Collect Horse Chestnut leaves separately

You can make leafmould with the leaves of the horsechestnut Aesculus hippocastanum - in fact it would be a very good idea to do so - but you need to collect them separately. Most trees are now suffering from the defoliation caused by Horse Chestnut Leaf Mining Moth larvae, which hatch out and chew away inside the leaf, causing the 'mines' and bringing on premature leaf fall.

The larvae pupate in the fallen leaf litter, and in spring new moths hatch out and lay their eggs again on the tree, weakening it year on year.  If you collect leaves from a horsechestnut, don't put them in an open bin or on a compost heap, put them in garden waste sacks and tie the tops tightly, then leave them somewhere out of the way for the leaves to break down. Next spring, the moths will hatch out from the pupae but won't be able to fly out and lay eggs on the nearest tree, and will die in the bag while the leaves break down slowly.

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