Compost: Woodlice essential in process, but sift before using around strawberry plants

Martyn Davey, Head of Horticulture and Design, Easton College
Monday, July 9, 2012
10:33 AM

Question: Can you please tell me if I can still use my compost when it is almost covered by what looks like woodlice? Also, what should/can I do to rectify this situation? (J Davey, via email)

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Answer:

Composting is a bit of an art and the Garden Organic organisation and Norfolk County Council have set up a group called ‘Master Composters’ to help people with composting questions and have practical advice and they run workshops on composting www.norfolk.gov.uk/mastercomposters.

Woodlice are essential in breaking down the wooded and carbon-rich material within the compost bin. Woodlice tend to only eat dead wood in the compost heap, but beware when using the compost as they do have a taste for strawberries. To save these from attack sift the compost before mulching around the strawberry plants. This should remove or at least make visible any woodlice left in the rotted material and they can be removed.

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