Agriculture experts discuss adding wood ash to home garden soil

Agriculture experts discuss adding wood ash to home garden soil
Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 6:36 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - As the weather gets cooler, more people are heating up their fireplaces. When you’re left with ashes to discard, what do you do?

According to agriculture experts, wood ashes from a fireplace or campfire are good for your lawn or garden.

Stephen F. Austin State University Gardens Director, David Creech said adding wood ash to your garden is a good way to recycle.

He said this can be done when you take a large bush pile and burn it to ash.

“You can use that in your garden to provide all kinds of calcium and magnesium, and other nutrients as well, but you do have to keep in mind that there’s a modest amount, not a giant volcano,” said Creech.

According to the Texas A&M AgriLife, 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet is the maximum you should add.

Creech suggested testing your soil before adding the ash.

“It’s due to the fact that ash will raise the pH, runs the conductivity up, and can create a rude environment that’s unhealthy,” said Creech.

He said to spread a small amount over a large area to be dusted on and watered in.

“It’s a good thing and a good way to dispose of ash if you happen to have it out of your wood heater,” said Creech.

Texas A & M AgriLife also suggests not using treated or painted wood ashes, as these could be contaminated.

“Some people take a teaspoon or so and put ash in containers and there’s nothing wrong with that, so you can get rid of your material that way,” said Creech.

Experts suggested you wear protective clothing to limit exposure to wood ash which can cause skin and eye irritation.