The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

We are in the process of dealing with a very old and probably dying Laburnum. I know the wood should not be used as firewood because of its toxicity (or at least it seems that way). However, since you can buy Laburnum blanks for wood turning, what about their toxic properties in that case?
Not that I intend using the wood for either purpose, just was interested.
The timber we get will go to the re-cycling yard.
Anyone any ideas on how else we could proceed?



Last year a chap was cutting his Laburnum down and did not realise how good the wood is for wood turning so I suggested he put an add on free cycle, he managed to get rid of most of the logs to a local wood turner, it’s a tough wood and I once made a lovey handle for a rake.

13 Nov, 2019


today wood turners are advised to wear a mask/dust filter to avoid inhaling the dust from any wood. We have burnt laburnum, didn't know it was toxic, but we seem to be ok!
could you chip it or is it too thick. As you know left to 'rot' for 6 months it will make a good mulch.

13 Nov, 2019


Laburnum is extremely toxic and should not be used for burning. Use protection for turning as mentioned above.

14 Nov, 2019


I think the pieces of branches are a bit too thin to be much use for turning.
From what I have read, it is not a problem to burn the wood in a closed stove, only in an open fire.
Space to keep the wood until it is dry or even more rotted in some cases is a problem.

14 Nov, 2019


It could be a problem for those downwind.

14 Nov, 2019


Pity the poor laburnum, saddled with this reputation of being extremely toxic and extremely dangerous when its effects are rather more moderate.

It is true that anyone using it for wood turning should wear a mask to prevent inhalation of the dust but that is true for any wood turning. If someone does inhale enough of the dust they may suffer what used to be called 'constitutional symptoms' that is a general feeling of being unwell rather than any specific malady.

The MAFF publication ‘Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man’, says that all stories about laburnum causing serious poisoning and death are untraceable. There have been animal deaths when large amounts have been consumed.

This same publication suggests that many of the alleged affects of laburnum are the result of panicking parents producing fear in children leading to self-induced symptoms.

As for burning, there are no scientific studies available only repeated anecdotal advice not to burn it. The probability is that the cytisine is destroyed by burning as happens with most toxins but it could well be that the smoke is simply more unpleasant that most other woods. As with wood turning, it is foolish to inhale a large amount of smoke regardless of the source.

I've spoken to a number of healthy adults who, as children, ate laburnum. In one case, a woman said she knew she wasn't supposed to eat it so didn't say anything when she got a bad stomach ache. She recovered without any treatment after a couple of days.

16 Nov, 2019


Thanks. That is exactly what I was thinking. Like a lot of 'facts' they do not stand up to close scrutiny.
Still going to take the logs to the re-cycling though, not because of any toxicity concerns, but purely and simply because of the space they are taking up.

17 Nov, 2019


Oleander, Manchineel, English Yew, and Laburnum trees should never be used for firewood. They are extremely poisonous and smoke from burning one is toxic. Seasoning the wood does nothing to lower the toxicity either.

Black or Mexican Elder trees contain a natural form of cyanide, and burning one can result in cyanide poisoning if the smoke is inhaled.

17 Nov, 2019


If Yew is so poisonous how come I am still alive. We burnt tons of it at our last property. some of the branches we cut down were over 6 inches across.

17 Nov, 2019


I have a simple response to claims about just how toxic some plant or other is and it's based on the film Jerry Maguire where Cuba Gooding Jnr shouts at Tom Cruise 'Show me the money!'.

My version; 'Show me the bodies!'. Plant poisoning either resulting in serious harm or death is extremely rare, so much so that almost every case gets written up and published in scientific journals.

If plants were as harmful as some people believe you'd be stepping over corpses every time you went for a walk in the park.

18 Nov, 2019



18 Nov, 2019


Show you the bodies? If the dead could only speak, lol!

18 Nov, 2019

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?