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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I found some nice leaf litter today locally, in the woods out at my parents house. I believe it's magnolia or gladiola ... ?
What is the procedure for cleaning it to use?
Can you just use any leaf litter as long as it's cleaned?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Has anyone used croton leaves? I know the sap is toxic but what about after the leaf has dried?
Does it matter where the leaf is collected if it is boiled?
 

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If a plant has toxic sap, I'd avoid using it for leaf litter. But, most hardwood tree leaves are fine. I usually put some less durable leaves at the base of my leaf litter, topped with more durable leaves like magnolia, live oak, or sea grape. Folks in the mountains use rhododendron leaves. Many members of the bay family (of which magnolia is one) make pretty good litter. The key, IMHO, is to have a 3-D leaf litter structure. You don't want a mat of flat wet rotting leaves. Leaves that curl and maintain their shape when wet are great for providing structure and voids in the leaf litter, which is good for the microfauna as well as small froglets such as pumilio.

Also, boiling will kill most insects and their larvae, bacteria, fungus, etc., but boiling cannot break down toxins like those found in pesticides, so it does matter where you collect the leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What about gardenia bush leaves? They are waxy and thick... Small, not huge and overpowering in small tanks like magnolia are.
Plus they have a nice shape to them...

Thoughts?
 

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I sometimes use Gardenia leaves. I have a special fondness for guava, since the leaves curl into tubes when moistened.
 

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It may be overkill, but I boil then bake my leaves (magnolia mostly). I bake them at around 300 for 15 minutes. Call me paranoid.
 

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You could also spray them with F10 and leave to dry then rinse them. I also microwave them for 30 seconds....Just another way of doing things
 
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