General Discussion:

what to do with ashes

Messages posted to thread:

Grace05-Feb-05 02:29 PM EST 2b   
Duncan06-Feb-05 06:57 AM EST 4a   
Nancy07-Feb-05 01:56 PM EST 5   
Duncan07-Feb-05 06:51 PM EST 4a   
Diane09-Feb-05 02:26 PM EST 5   

Subject: what to do with ashes
From: Grace
Zone: 2b
Date: 05-Feb-05 02:29 PM EST

Which flower beds and part of the garden like ashes from the wood stove?

Subject: RE: what to do with ashes
From: Duncan (
Zone: 4a
Date: 06-Feb-05 06:57 AM EST

Hi Grace There are three major uses for your wood ash that I can think of:

You can use it to raise the ph of loamy soil. About 5 lbs per 100 square feet will raise you ph by about .5. You can use it in the same manner as lime to sweeten your compost pile.

The second use is for slug control. Ring your affected plants with a dusting of wood ash.

The third use is as a potassium (fertilizer) supplement for plants. Watch for grey-green or yellowing leaves on the lower stems as a sign to supplement.

Subject: RE: what to do with ashes
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 07-Feb-05 01:56 PM EST

Hi Duncan,

Great suggestions. Do you know if it's safe to use the ask from synthetic fire logs? I'd like to raise the pH of my vegetable beds, but want to do it safely.

Subject: RE: what to do with ashes
From: Duncan (
Zone: 4a
Date: 07-Feb-05 06:51 PM EST

Hi Nancy My initial reaction to your question is one of caution.

I would wonder what the manufacturer has used as a bonding agent to tie all the sawdust together? Let's face it, we're talking about saw mill scrap destined for an airtight stove, not organic gardening. You might check the wrapping on the logs to see the chemical content or look for warnings.

If you have a doubt...toss it out. Different vegetables absorb metals in different concentrations. It is not worth the risk in my books.

On a side note, given the demands on our environment, anything we can do to reduce our "footprint" can only protect the future for our children.

You might want to try wood splitting; besides being cheaper than your current product, it is a great stress reducer. You have no idea how many arguments you will win when you take an axe to a cord of wood (it's a Zen thing, trust me).

Take care, Duncan

Subject: RE: what to do with ashes
From: Diane
Zone: 5
Date: 09-Feb-05 02:26 PM EST

Ashes from treated wood should not generally be used around or in any garden used for foodstuffs. Nor should it be put into a compost that in turn, might be used for such purpose.

The reason being there is just too much liklihood the wood many have harmful metals in it and are not destroyed in the ash stage.

Better to throw it on the lawn to raise the pH. Use around plants such as clematis, iris, peony. Water in well.

Ashes are great for throwing over plants that have been hit by freezing rain. The ashes draw the sun's power and often results in improved lifting of bent over branches in short order.

The ground under such a plant, might too stay snow-free for some time afterwards.

Ashes are good for under stuck tires in snow...or for spreading on sidewalks that are icy.

And are great in the compost.

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