Have you ever just stared at your fireplace and wondered what you could do with your wood ash after it’s all burnt up? Have you also wondered if adding fireplace ash would damage or grow your garden? Well, you’ve certainly thought of using fireplace ash as a fertilizer if you came searching for articles like these on Google.
So we’re guessing the real question on your mind would be, can you use fireplace ash for fertilizer in your home garden? Tell you what, you absolutely can!
It’s not the first option that pops into your head when you’re searching for new ways to fertilize your home garden because you’re bound to think it’s a bad idea at first. I mean who uses fireplace ash to grow stuff in their home garden, right? But we’re telling you, it works wonders! You can place your ashes for use in and around your garden and your home instead of throwing them out with the garbage!
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How Good Is Your Fireplace Ash For a Fertilizer?
Wood ash, which is also known as the ash your fireplace produces, is a great source of lime and potassium for your garden needs. It is also packed with all the trace elements goodness your garden plants thrive on to grow. These trace elements include iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and some other heavy metals. Wood ash is primarily made up of calcium carbonate, magnesium, potassium, less than 1% of phosphate, and a dozen or more important nutrients. It is frequently ignored and often discarded because it has been over-applied within several areas of use but it is time that it gets the praise that is due to its very extraordinary benefits.
The use of wood ash in your garden does not substitute the guidelines for soil testing and fertility. It rather complements it and eliminates the total need to buy expensive fertilizer inputs. The beauty of using wood ash is that plants already have a preselected range and ratio of minerals found in it and its fine dust in the soil is always very fast-acting. Wood ash, without adding nitrogen, has a very rich abundance of trace and secondary minerals. For healthy flowering and fruiting, plants need potassium and for plants suffering from potassium shortages, wood ash would make a great soil amendment.
The primary advantages of recycling wood ash into the soil are fertilizing and raising pH levels to make the soil less acidic. Good-quality wood ash may be a soil-amendment bonus for gardeners who heat their homes using stoves or fireplaces in winter. But they can be a caustic topping for foliage-heavy plants and seedlings if applied improperly.Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor emeritus at the University of Vermont
What Kind Of Plants Do I Use My Ash On?
Since the pH of your soil is increased by wood ash, always test the soil to ensure that it does not become too alkaline. Never use wood ash on acid-loving plants such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Other acid-loving plants include potatoes, azaleas, parsley, rhododendrons, and fruit trees.
Is Wood Ash Good For Roses?
To grow well, roses need several different nutrients. Potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen are among these nutrients. When added with the right volume, fireplace ashes will help your roses grow because they contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium which are all good for your roses. This is if you are burning seasoned logs.
Owing to the nutrients it supplies, such as potassium and phosphorus, wood ash is the ideal fertilizer for roses. When applying wood ash to your roses, you must be patient. Many roses prefer slightly acidic soil and ash from wood is very alkaline so when wood ash is applied to the soil of your roses, the pH is sure to increase. You can apply wood ash in two primary ways to your roses. That is, you can add it to your rose plants individually or to your entire rose garden as a whole.
Wood ash, because of its abundance of potash that helps stimulate flower development, can benefits roses. However, the alkalinity of wood ash on the soil must be taken into account, as roses prefer a mildly acidic soil of pH 6-7.
How To Get Fireplace Ash
Depending on your fuel source, your heating appliance and the general rate of wood-burning capacity, each cord of firewood that you burn will leave you with around 20 pounds of ash or more, which is enough to give you a good round of home-made fertilizer. They also differ greatly with the types of trees or wood being burned.
However, you get to save up on cash, make your own super fertilizer, and grow special foods that are endowed with the right portions of nutrients.
Before adding wood ash, make sure to ensure an optimum growing environment in your garden by;
- Maintaining well-supplied mineral levels in your soil
- Keeping and maintaining a very low supply of nitrogen in your soil
- Ensuring the soil is regularly moist and ready
- Making your own super fertilizer. An example is your wood ash which we’d be showing you how to make and apply in the next section.
How Do I Add Fireplace Ash To My Garden?
Now, how do you get a slice of all this wood ash goodness and make your farm life easier? Of course, we would show you the appropriate way to add it in good amounts to your garden soil. If you burn wood consistently for heating or cooking purposes, then you should have enough wood ash to prepare your super fertilizer. If not, you could prep a bonfire and you’re set for life.
But first, you need to gear up. Make sure to wear eye protection. Put on your gloves and a good dust mask. Don’t forget to prepare and apply your wood ash on a dry, windless day to avoid the wind whisking off your hard-earned ash. Or, you could mix your wood ashes with moist leaf mold to also avoid your ashes getting pushed around in the direction of the wind. Now let’s go over the steps to adding your fertilizer.
- You need to first get out your wood ash and mix with at least 1 pound of kelp meal and 1 pound of sugar. This is a standard measurement for every 20 pounds of ash you mix. If your soil has low phosphorus, add bones to your wood when burning it and smash them in with some charcoal.
- Now lightly scatter your mixture onto your soil. If you didn’t go with the option of mixing moist leaf mold into your wood ash mixture, before planting, you might as well make sure to mix your ash thoroughly into the soil. Also, we advise that you apply within 5 to 50 pounds of your mix per 1000 square feet.
Be very careful when adding wood ash to your yard. Hose off any ashes that accumulate on actively growing plants in order not to burn your plants. During germination, do not use wood ash on plant leaves or directly against the plant base or around new plant roots and seedlings, as it can burn plants. Use wood ash at a rate of 1/2 lb per shrub, 10 to 15 lbs per 1,000 square feet of grass, or 1/2 lb per square yard of garden space to treat illnesses, increase potassium or increase soil alkalinity.
What You Should Also Keep In Mind Before Applying Wood Ash To Your Garden
We provided this bit of information just so you can enjoy the full benefits of using your fireplace ash as a fertilizer. Please take note
- Add wood ash when your soil pH is low (falling under pH 6.5). At this point, there is a decrease in magnesium and calcium supply.
- If your soil is still alkaline with a pH greater than 7.0, do not add wood ash. You’ll damage your plants in the soil that is already alkaline and even destroy them. If the soil pH gets too high, many plants would not absorb the nutrients. For instance, your trees will start to have yellow leaves (chlorosis); some of your fruit trees and vegetables will start to wither as well. To minimize soil pH, we’d advise that you use a bit of elemental sulfur. You do not want to mess with the pH if your soil is already in the optimum range (6.0 to 7.0).
- Do not use your fireplace ashes around acid-loving plants like blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas, and holly, as wood ash can increase the pH and make certain plants less suitable for the soil.
- Wood ash is very similar to lime (ground limestone or calcium carbonate). It is water-soluble and it rapidly alters the pH range of a soil, unlike limestone that can take up to 6 months or more to modify the pH of your soil. So make sure to apply roughly twice as much ash by weight as you would see in a limestone recommendation/recipe.
- Soils already in the optimum 6.0 to 7.0 pH range can accommodate 20 pounds or one 5-gallon pail of hardwood ashes per 1,000 square feet in a year. At this rate, it won’t raise the pH of your soil unduly. However, do not exceed 20 pounds of ash as high rates of wood ashes will result in a short-term salt injury.
- Since wood ash has a liming effect on the soil, you can use it to decrease soil acidity on the lawn, on ornamental flowers, plants, and shrubs, as well as in the garden. As compared to excessively acidic soils, some plants grow in neutral to alkaline soils. For instance, for optimum health, garden plants such as artichokes, tomatillos, greens such as collards and arugula, and brassicas such as broccoli require alkaline soil.
Other Uses Of Fireplace Ash
When your primary source of heating at home is your wood, you are bound to have gathered truckloads of wood ash from cleaning out your stove over time. Asides from turning your wood ash into a super fertilizer, there are so many other ways you can put your ash to good use as opposing disposal. We have taken the time out to list out creative ways you can use your wood ash in your day to day activities. Some of these are:
Using Wood Ash as a Cleaning Agent
Wood ash can be used to make a caustic cleaning agent called lye. Lye was used for scrubbing wooden floors, washing bed linen and cotton clothes in the good old days and can still be used to do the same, especially if you’re used to making your own cleaning agents for your domestic purposes. You can combine lye with animal fats and water to make good soap. This would reduce your costs around the house and get you into achieving good DIY products at home.
Using Wood Ash To Repel Slugs
Wood ash is used to repel slugs found around your surrounding environs. When lightly scattered around vulnerable plants, wood ashes can irritate and repel the moist bodies of slugs. But take note that after rainfall or groundwater dissolves the ashes, the repellent effect will most likely fade.
Using Wood Ash To Melt Ice
Wood ash is used to melt ice, thereby providing stability during winter. Once it is sprinkled on walkways or driveways, it melts the ice and readies the section for use. They’re not as efficient as salt but they work quite well as a replacement. Wood ash could also be pretty messy, as they can choose to go in the direction of the wind when being spread. Not to worry though. They won’t damage the paws of your pets or the paved surfaces around your home.
Using Wood Ash To Remove Or Clean Out Oil Stains From Asphalt, Cement, Or Stone
Using Wood Ash To Clean Out Glass Or Metal Surfaces
Wood ash is used in cleaning glass and metal surfaces. Hardwood ashes in particular work miraculously well in removing tarnish and grime off of glass, grills, silver, ovenware, or your stovetops. It also cleans that gummy residue that labels and stickers always leave behind after they are removed. To apply, make a thick paste out of the ashes and little water, dip in a damp cotton cloth and gently scrub your surface with it. Then rinse it off with water and dry with another cloth.
Make sure to wear gloves when using wood ash to scrub so you can avoid getting caustic burns