Burning firewood can help you cook, keep your family warm, and create a cozy atmosphere. Hardwood firewood has many uses, but not many people consider how to utilize the material’s byproducts after it is burned. Wood ash has been used in homes and gardens for millennia, and many people still use ash to improve fertility in their gardens today. The next time you light a fire with high-quality hardwood firewood from Lehnhoff’s Supply, consider using the ash to amend your garden’s soil.
How Can You Use Ash from Burning Firewood?
Wood ash is a shockingly versatile material. It can be used in ceramic pottery to create glazes, or it can be turned into lye and used to produce soap. In the garden, wood ash is used to boost nutrients and neutralize acidic soil, or it can be added to compost to add nutrients and control foul odors. If you’re trying to dispose of a bit of wood ash, you might want to consider mixing it into some of your garden beds.
Should You Amend Your Soil with Wood Ash?
While amending your soil with wood ash can add important nutrients and boost yields, it isn’t always a good idea. If your soil is particularly alkaline to begin with, wood ash will only make it more alkaline. Some plants require acidic soil to stay healthy or set fruit, and adding wood ash around plants like blueberries and rhododendrons (both of which thrive in acidic conditions) can make the soil too alkaline. Make sure to test your soil’s pH and nutrient levels before adding any amendments, and don’t forget to research the specific requirements of your favorite plants!
Precautions and Considerations for Application
Mixing hardwood ash into your compost or soil introduces calcium, potassium, and other compounds, making the overall pH more alkaline. While wood ash is milder than strongly alkaline soil amendments such as lime, it is still prudent to follow some basic safety precautions and application best practices. Only use ash produced by burning clean (untreated, unstained) firewood. Wait until the ash is completely cool before applying, and wear basic PPE (gloves, eye protection, and a mask) as you mix the ash into your soil.
Questions? Lehnhoff’s Supply is Here to Help
If you still have more questions about how to best prepare your landscape or garden for winter or spring, the trained professionals at Lehnhoff’s Supply are here to help you.
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