Plants need a variety of essential nutrients to thrive and grow. On the other hand, if your soil is neutral or alkaline, to begin with, adding wood ash could raise the pH high enough to interfere with the plant's ability to take in nutrients. What Is Organic Matter and What Does It Do for My Garden Soil? If your soil is very acidic (5.5 or lower), amending with wood ash can raise your soil pH. There is a history of it being used for many purposes including pottery, food preparation, and in even in soaps. The garden is the primary location where wood ash provides benefits. Similarly, clay soil does better with wood ash than does sandy soil. Other Wood Ash Uses in the Garden. Wood ash: using in the garden. Wood ash can be used to boost the pH of your lawn’s soil quickly—faster than limestone, since the ash is more water soluble. Wood ash can pile up during a cold winter, and it would be nice to have a practical use for it. Are Coffee Grounds Good for Magnolia Trees? However, most studies have not shown that if the soil pH is above 6.0, the heavy metals are not taken in by the plants in measurable amounts. Ash from wood fires, such as bonfires or wood burning stoves, can be a useful additive to the compost heap or can be applied directly to fallow ground and dug in. As a general guide, you should not be able to identify it after mixing it into the compost. Wood ash can pile up during a cold winter, and it would be nice to have a practical use for it. Ashes from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can be a good source of potassium. Dust a fine layer onto infested plants, coating the aphids. the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9. It contains potassium or potash (they’re not identical but - scientists look away now - the terms are often used interchangeably), and potassium is a vital nutrient for crops. Ash from wood fires, such as bonfires or wood burning stoves, can be a useful additive to the compost heap or can be applied directly to fallow ground and dug in. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Achieving and Maintaining Great Garden Soil. Always test your soil before using wood ash in the garden. Most of them can be found within this waste product. This will provide nutrition to growing plants, as you can spray the tea around the base of your plants. Submitted by The Editors on October 17, 2019 - 12:27pm. Although in smaller extent you can use it in any season. It also has a liming effect, so wood ash can remedy excessively acidic soils. Wood ash can be spread directly on soil in the vegetable garden in late winter at a rate of 50-70g per sq m (1.7-2.4oz per sq yd); Wood ash is a useful by-product of bonfires, but there are a few things to avoid; Ash from lumpwood charcoal can be used as recommended for wood ashes. It can be a natural source of potassium and trace elements. Join the RHS today and support our charitable work, Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully, For the latest on RHS Shows in 2020 and 2021, read more, RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens, Free entry to RHS members at selected times », Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops, Our Garden Centres and online shops are packed with unique and thoughtful gifts and decorations to make your Christmas sparkle, General enquiries RHS Garden Hyde Hall Spring and Orchid Show, Free entry to RHS members at selected Unfortunately, wood ash can also be a source of heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, or lead, which you don't necessarily want in your garden. Wood ash is high in potassium and can add alkalinity to the soil. Thank you. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. As with most gardening questions, the answer is "That depends." Wood ash in the garden. To use wood ash for pest control, simply sprinkle it around … The garden is the primary location where wood ash provides benefits. The best ways to use wood ash. It has often been used as a soil amendment in gardens.In recent years, gardeners have been given mixed signals about the safety and value of using wood ash on their garden soil. Adding too much can do more harm than good. Wood ash is enriched with many of the same minerals that it contained as a tree – calcium, … This will allow the compounds in the ash which could scorch plants to react with the moist soil and be rendered harmless before spring sowing or planting. The salt in the wood ash will kill bothersome pests like snails, slugs and some kinds of soft bodied invertebrates. Use of wood ash is excellent in the preparation of compost. Wood ash may contain useful levels of potassium (about three percent), a major plant nutrient associated with flowering and fruiting. The main benefit of wood ash … Store your ash out of the elements when using it in the garden. If applying wood ash directly to soils, do this in winter and rake or dig it in. Use of wood ash … Instead of looking for areas to dispose of it safely, consider these 11 practical uses for wood ash in the garden. How to Use Wood Ash in the Garden. times, RHS Registered Charity no. Most wood ash contains a good percentage, about 25 percent, of calcium carbonate, an ingredient in garden lime. Improves Compost. Slugs and snail are repelled by wood ash, and if they do come in contact with it, it acts much like salt and desiccates their bodies. It can be a natural source of potassium and trace elements. How to Improve Garden Soil With Amendments, How to Improve Acidic Soil in Your Garden. And since wood ash raises the soil pH, the presence of heavy metals should not be a problem. Although in smaller extent you can use it in any season. Join Vegetables grow best in soil with a pH of 6.5, so testing the level before adding the compost is recommended so as not to raise the pH too much (greater than pH7.0). Spread and rake wood ash directly on the soil on vegetable patches in late winter at a rate of 1.7 – 2.4 oz per square yard (50 – 70 g. per sq m.). But if your soil has a potassium deficiency, wood ashes can be a good amendment. Test your soil pH as well as the nutrient balance before you decide to add wood ash. To a lesser degree, they also provide some phosphorus, a bit of aluminum, magnesium, and sodium, and a few micro-nutrients, such as boron, copper, molybdenum, sulfur, and zinc. Only add wood ash to the compost heap occasionally (every 15cm/6in of material), as heavier use risks high levels of alkalinity and soluble salts which could damage plants and soil. How to Use Wood Ash in the Garden. Submitted by Elle Marella on October 16, 2019 - 8:11am. Wood ash and roses. There is a history of it being used for many purposes including pottery, food preparation, and in even in soaps. Just because you had a bon-fire doesn’t mean that you can use all of that ash in the garden. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. If you have a regular source of wood ash and are worried about the extended use of it in your garden, you should consider having it tested in a lab. The best ways to use wood ash. You can hose the ash off the plants, once it has done its job. Make a Wood Ash Tea. Wood ash should also be avoided around acid-loving plants like rhododendrons and blueberries. It also has a liming effect, so wood ash can remedy excessively acidic soils. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Start by getting your lawn or garden soil tested to determine its pH. Most lawn and garden … 15 Uses for Ash in the Garden 1. Large amounts should be avoided. Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm, Join the RHS today and support our charity. Avoid breathing in the dust by using a face protection and limit skin exposure by wearing gloves, boots and work clothes, Where wood ash is applied frequently, it is worthwhile to use a pH test kit to monitor changes in pH and prevent levels rising over pH7.5, Wood ash may be especially useful in vegetable gardens where, Never leave wood ash in the rain, as the potassium (a useful plant nutrient for flowers and fruit) is in a soluble form and is easily leached out, Ash produced from young sappy prunings contains a useful proportion of potassium and traces of other nutrients, while older wood tends to contain lower concentrations of nutrients, Avoid using too much wood ash because an excess in alkalinity, Avoid using ash from treated timber as they may contain potentially harmful residues consign such ash to the council refuse collection, Avoid using wood ash on areas where potatoes are to be grown the following spring, as the alkaline conditions can encourage potato scab, Ash from coal or anthracite is best disposed of through the council rubbish collection since it has little or no nutritional benefit and is potentially harmful to soil, plants and consumers of edible produce. You have to know a little about both your soil and the ashes themselves.