Eastern filbert blight – can you compost infected leaves?


can you safely compost leaves from infected hazelnut trees that have the eastern filbert blight – the fungus that grow like black raised bumps on the limbs of the tree?


Thank you for your question.

Eastern filbert blight is caused by the fungus Anisogramma anomala and it affects many species of hazelnut trees, although there are disease-resistant varieties.

There is no cure for the disease and it eventually kills the tree.

Do not put infected leaves in your own compost.  Instead, rake them up and put them in your yard waste bag for municipal collection.  City compost reaches much higher temperatures during the composting process that will kill most pathogens – you cannot achieve these kinds of temperatures in your own compost bin.

Assuming you have correctly identified the disease, the tree will eventually die. You may wish to have it checked and removed by an arborist and replaced in the spring with another tree so that the new tree has extra time to grow.  It is probably not a good idea to plant another hazelnut tree as fungal disease in the soil may infect a new hazelnut tree.  Below is a link so you can browse some native trees to plant.

Also below, are some resources you may find helpful, including a question we answered about Eastern filbert blight and another on what to do with maple leaves affected by Tar Spot – you’d follow a similar process for your hazelnut leaves.

Eastern Filbert Blight [Toronto Master Gardeners]

Eastern Filbert Blight [Wisconsin Horticulture]

Threats to Trees: Diseases [City of Toronto]

Black Spots on a Young Red Maple Tree [Toronto Master Gardeners]

Ontario Native Trees

Planting a Tree for Life: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide