Q: I am new to rural living but we have recently moved to a big forested lot. The house is surrounded with typical plants for which I have no great love. I want to compost all of the plant material I remove before I replant. What do I need to be cautious of composting? Are azaleas, acorns, oak leaves, walnut branches and magnolia leaves okay?
A: Keep up your compost quest! Your sandy Texas soil will need lots of it. There is nothing harmful in anything you mention, so the simple answer is to “collect everything, pile it up and let it rot”. Contrary to widespread gardening lore, even walnut leaves and branches can be shredded and composted. No proven research has shown harmful effects to vegetables or flowers from walnut sap.