RHS Says No to Compost


The Royal Horticultural Society is in the odd position of opposing a large-scale composting operation.  Its garden in Surrey is home to many rare plant specimens that could be put at risk if a potpourri of plant pathogens showed up in the garden clippings that would be sent to the facility. They’re worried about diseases like sudden oak death that could infect woody plants and decimate their collection.

A weird issue for the RHS, which would normally be all in favor of composting, to grapple with.  Read more about it on this RHS blog post, (and by the way, Friend of Rant Graham Rice is blogging with the RHS, too), and you can also read the full story here.


  1. This is a very complex issue that hits upon both science, theories, real estate and environmental law.
    As I understand the view point of the RHS, they are most concerned with the bio-areosols ( air born transmission of pathogens ) that ‘may’ blow into their airspace and then settle into their ground thus potentially infecting the soil and their plant collections.
    What they are asking is for air space regulation as well as real estate regulation.
    I can relate to this as someone who supports the Clean Air Act here in the United States but the RHS issue of claim is far more reaching and far more complex.

    Consider if their case goes to court and they win .
    Could you now sue your neighbor for damages if their diseased / infected shrub infected your shrub ?
    How do you know where the pathogen originated from that flew on the air and caused your shrub to be infected ?

  2. I would have to agree with the RHS on this one. It sounds like a large commercial operatiopn with little control over what goes into the windrows.

    Could create a can of red worms!

    The TROLL

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