In an earlier article, I wrote about keeping insects out of your houseplants by simply putting a cedar stake, about the size of a pencil, into the plant and this should discourage insects.

Now, I have been talking to people about taking this a step further. Could you put cedar shavings on houseplants or on your garden? And funny that we would start discussing this. My husband and I were just wondering if you could sprinkle a small amount of cedar sawdust on cranberry bogs as an organic form of pesticide.

Apparently the experts are divided on this one because cedar sawdust has oils in it that can be toxic to some young plants and veggies. However, it also discourages insects and fungi.

Because of this, many gardeners agree that it should only be used on the pathways of your garden. But others agree that cedar sawdust can be used by mixing it with other sawdust or used by itself around acid-loving plants such as roses and rhododendrons (and maybe cranberries?).

Here are some of the problems with using very much sawdust, and especially cedar sawdust, around your plants.

1. Fresh sawdust put in layers around a plant can form a crust that will resist water absorption. This might make it harder to water your plants.

2. Sawdust has a tendency to rob the soil of nitrogen rather than add it because it has a high carbon-to-nitrogen ration (300-500:1).

3. Sawdust is very acidic.

4. On cranberries – when we flood the bogs for harvesting, the sawdust might float away!

So when using cedar sawdust around your plants, try a small amount and test with it. Watch for nitrogen depletion and then give them more by using compost tea or fertilizer.