Does Fireplace Ash Make Good Fertilizer? (Expert Opinion)
A commonly asked question about fireplace ashes is "Should I use fireplace ash as fertilizer in my garden?"
You may think about whether the powder in your lawn will help or hurt, and if you apply the ash in your garden, how it will influence your lawn.
The best answer to whether its right to use the ash from your fireplace unit as a fertilizer is a "YES, if you use ash from obtained from burning natural, untreated wood.”
Such ash is capable of introducing up to 13 essential nutrients to your soil in addition to other benefits.
That being said, you should be cautious about how and where you use the white powder on your lawn.
Using Fireplace Ash Fertilizer
Wood ash is a great source of lime and potassium for your lawn. Not just that, using this powder in your garden will also provide a significant number of the trace elements to your plants and help them flourish.
In any case, the ash fertilizer is best utilized either by lightly scattering it in your garden or by composting it alongside other compost materials.
This is based on the fact that the wood remains will create lye and salts the moment it gets wet.
In smaller amounts, the lye and salt won't lead to any problems. However, in larger quantities, the lye and salt will burn your plants. Composting the chimney ashes first allows the lye and salt to be easily filtered away.
Did You Know That Not All Fireplace Ash Fertilizers Are The Same?
In case the ash you used to make your fertilizer comes from the hardwoods, such as oak and maple, the minerals and nutrients that will be in your fireplace ash fertilizer will be much higher.
And if the chimney ashes in your fertilizer are made by burning of softwoods, such as firs and pines, there will be fewer minerals and nutrients in the powder.
Additional Wood Ash Uses in Your Garden
Wood ash is additionally valuable for controlling pests.
The salt in the wood deposits that gather in your fireplace kills nuisance pests such as slugs, snails, insects, rodents, as well as other soft-bodied invertebrates.
Using wood ash to control pests is simple. You sprinkle the powder around the bottom of plants that are invested by the above pests. If your ash gets wet, you will need to reapply ash given that water filters away the salt that makes fireplace ash an excellent pest control.
Another use for the wood ashes in the gardens is changing the pH of your soil. Wood ash helps raise the pH and lower acid levels in the soil.
In light of this, you ought to be careful not to use the ash as a fertilizer for acid-loving plants such as gardenias, azaleas, and blueberries.
How to Use Fireplace Ash Fertilizer?
Step 1 - Gather Kindling Fiery remains
Allow your fireplace ashes to completely cool (leave them overnight or a little bit longer) before scooping and storing it in a metal can. Close with a tight lid to keep the air out. With no air (read oxygen), the embers will be prevented from starting any fires.
Once the powder has cooled down, filter out pieces and lumps of wood using a medium mesh-screen. You can simply crush the screened pieces and filter them over into the can or just discard them.
Because fireplace ash is a strong alkaline, it’s caustic, and you should protect your eyes, hands, and lungs when handling it.
Step 2 - Apply to Plants
Apply the fireplace ashes on a dry day with low or no wind.
The powder can simply be applied using your hands- by just sprinkling it around the stems or the bases of the plants.
Hand application is the best approach to guarantee that you apply the right amount of ash and to the particular area you want it.
However, you can also apply larger amounts using a shovel or trowel or any other broadcast applicator available. Sprinkle the powder gently. Adding the ashes to your lawn or garden will raise their pH.
Avoid applying too much ash to your garden. This can lead to the salt build-up in your soil and promptly cause harm to your plants.
You can safely apply about 20 pounds (around a 5-gallon container of the powder) for every 1,000 Sq. Ft of soil, or just 5 pounds for every 100 Sq. Ft yearly). Limestone works in the same way as ash, so ensure that your total usage of both fertilizers doesn't surpass 20 pounds.
Use wood ash on these soil conditions and plants:
- Vegetable gardens
Avoid using ashes on the acid loving plants below:
- Potatoes (ash leads to development of potato scab in potatoes)
- Oak trees
- Pine trees
Important Note: The right time to apply fireplace ash is in the spring when the soil is dry. Do this before you till your garden.
Step 3 - Store or Discard Any Unused Ash
Return any unused ashes to your metal can or sprinkle it on the compost heap or just discard it once you have applied the right amount to your lawn or garden.
Applying the powder once a year is enough to avoid making your soil too much alkaline.
When you achieve your fireplace ash fertilizer application limits for the year, discard the remains appropriately- far from your lawn, plants, and gardens.
Firewood ash fertilizer has been used since the Roman times. It’s an organic fertilizer that offers your plants the much-needed nutrients when used wisely. Additionally, the powder can be used to keep off pests that interfere with your plants.
Follow our guide above on how to use the wood ash fertilizer to get the most out of it in your garden or lawn.