There are many uses of wood ash in the garden, from getting rid of pests to improving the pH level of soil, and more. Aside from being a good source of potassium, wood ashes are also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and other nutrients that can encourage plant growth. So if you have a fireplace or wood stove at home, put the ashes into good use instead of throwing them away.
Uses of Wood Ash in The Garden
Wood ashes are a great source of nutrients for your garden. Thus, adding ashes into your garden soil can help your plants to thrive well. But aside from this, using ashes into the garden comes with several other benefits. Here are some ways you can use wood ashes in your garden:
1. Amend the Soil’s pH Level
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Most wood ashes contain a good amount of calcium carbonate. If your garden soil is very acidic and has a pH value of 5.5 or lower, you can amend the soil’s pH value with wood ash. By adding wood ashes into the soil, it can help to increase the soil’s pH level, which is favorable for most plants to grow.
2. Keep the Snails Out of the Garden
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Sprinkling some wood ashes at the base of your plants is one way to deter the snails and slugs away. When these critters notice the presence of ashes, they will be discouraged from climbing into the stems and eating the leaves of your precious plants.
3. Protect the Crops from Frost Damage
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When temperatures start to go down in fall, you must protect your plants from frost damage. Thankfully, the wood ashes can help to minimize frost damage. Simply dust the plants with ashes before the early light frost, and that should help keep your crops protected from potential damage.
4. Improve the Quality of Compost
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If you are composting lots of fruits, your compost could get very acidic, and this may affect the growth of your plants. The wood ash can help to reduce the compost’s acidity level. Sprinkle the ash on every layer of compost that you apply. Just make sure not to overdo it, as this could affect the bacteria and worms in the compost.
5. Add Calcium to Your Plants
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Calcium is one of the most abundant elements in wood ash. Using wood ash to your garden can help with your plant’s growth and nutrition since calcium plays a lot of important roles. Calcium helps to maintain the soil’s chemical balance, reduce salinity, and improve the penetration of water into the plants.
6. Foster the Growth of Grasses in the Lawn
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Wood ashes provide grasses with a significant amount of potassium, but their greatest benefit to grasses comes from its high alkalinity. The ashes have the same properties as those lime products that are used to increase soil pH. Lawn grasses would prefer to grow in slightly acidic soil, and the ashes can help modify the soil’s pH level in order to make the grasses grow faster.
7. Boost Potassium for Tomatoes
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Ashes that came from hardwood contain about 5 to 7 percent potassium. Tomatoes need potassium in order to grow and produce yield. Potassium helps to maintain the plant’s ionic balance and water status and it also helps in the production and transportation of sugar in the plant, as well as in enzyme activation.
8. Encourage Pepper to Produce Healthy Fruits
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Wood ashes contain most of the essential nutrients that the soil supplies to the plant for growth. One of these nutrients is nitrogen, which helps pepper to produce healthy fruits. When the pepper plants start to blossom, they have already used up most of the nitrogen from the soil, so they need more nitrogen to produce yield. The nitrogen coming from wood ash can help the pepper plant to produce large and healthy fruits.
9. Protect Beehives
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If you are producing honey from the beehives in your garden, then the wood ashes can be a big help for you. A typical beehive is said to produce up to 200 pounds of honey each year. However, the presence of ants could steal a good amount of honey that the beehive can produce. The best solution to this is to scatter a circle of ash around the beehive to deter those pesky ants.
10. Provide More Nutrients to Fruit Trees
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Adding wood ashes to your garden soil is beneficial for the fruit trees growing in it. The ash can provide plenty of nutrients to the soil and raise its pH level, which helps the trees to grow even more.
11. Slow Down the Growth of Algae
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Having a pond in your garden is great. However, seeing those algae growing in the pond can be annoying. The algae can also affect the growth of your aquatic plants. By feeding these plants with potassium-rich wood ashes, your aquatic plants will thrive. As a result, the algae will be left with no nutrients and will eventually die.
12. Remove Bad Odor in Your Garden
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There are many reasons why your garden can smell bad, but one of the main reasons is the presence of compost. If the compost is too wet, it will produce a putrid smell similar to rotting eggs. To fix this, dust some wood ashes into the garden. The ashes can help to neutralize the odor that the composts produce.
13. Deter Ants in the Garden
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Ants may be good for your garden, but if there are just too many of them, they could eat your plants away! The best way to control them is to sprinkle a small amount of ash around the plants that have plenty of ants. These ashes can help to repel the ants and other pests that could attack your plants.
14. Help Broccoli Plants Grow Healthy
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Calcium is one of the most abundant elements in wood ash. Your broccoli plants can benefit from the calcium that the wood ashes can provide. Aside from amending the soil’s pH level, calcium can also help improve the absorption of water. Calcium is essential for all plants, however, vegetable plants like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower can benefit the most from it.
15. Change the Color of Hydrangeas
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The hydrangeas’ pink and blue hues are influenced by the soil’s alkalinity. Adding wood ashes into the soil where your hydrangeas grow can help to change the color from blue to pink. It can also make the light pink shade to turn darker. You can apply the ashes three times in a year – once in winter, another in mid-May, and in June again. This can change the color of your hydrangeas flowers in one season.
Q1: Which Plants like Wood Ashes?
A1: Although wood ash is high in nutrients, not all plants can benefit from it. Some of those plants that can thrive well with the application of wood ash are garlic, lettuce, leeks, chives, asparagus, lavender, and some fruit trees. These are plants that would prefer to grow in slightly acidic soil.
Q2: Is Wood Ash good for Fruit Trees?
A2: Yes, wood ash is good for fruit trees. It is incredibly high in calcium carbonate, which is important in regulating the soil’s pH value. Fruit trees like peaches, apples, pears, and citrus can thrive well in slightly acidic soil. The wood ash can help to regulate a highly acidic soil.
Q3: Do Hydrangeas like Wood Ash?
A3: Hydrangeas like wood ash because it benefits them in so many ways. Aside from amending the soil’s pH level and enriching the compost pile, the wood ash can also change the color of hydrangeas.
Q4: Do Roses like Wood Ash?
A4: Roses can thrive in soil that’s slightly acidic and with a pH value of 6 to 7. Wood ash is high in alkaline pH because of its calcium content. Therefore, roses can benefit only from an occasional light sprinkling of the ash. It’s not advisable to directly pour large amounts of ash into the soil where the rose bushes grow.
Q5: Is Wood Ash good for Tomatoes??
A5: Yes, wood ash is good for tomatoes since it needs an ample supply of potassium for a good yield. Wood ash contains a good amount of potassium, so using wood ash on your tomato garden can help the plant to produce a good yield.
Q6: How much Ash should I Put in my Garden?
A6: The amount of ash to use in your garden will vary depending on the soil and crop. But a good rule is to use 20 pounds or around 5 gallons for every 1000 square feet area. You can get this much ashes from one cord of firewood.
As you see, there are so many uses of wood ash in the garden. So the next time you remove those ashes from your fireplace or wood-burning stove, make sure you don’t throw them away. Instead, bring the ashes in your garden and help your plants and trees to grow healthy.
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