Thought I'd share this on wood ash

   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash #21  
If you read the history, up in the mountains, "Grandma Moses" used to use wood ash to make lye soap at home,,
Lye soap (and most every other kind of cleaner, and soap) is an alkaline cleaner,, not acidic.

Filter water through wood ash , what comes out is VERY high pH.

I remember when I started painting tractor equipment, a paint guy gave me some tips.
Acid (like muriatic acid, or even citric acid) will only remove rust.
The acid does not do a good job of removing grease or oil,,

Then I had to clean with an alkaline cleaner.
The alkaline cleaner would not remove rust, but, it did a great job of removing grease, and oil.
   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash #22  
Of course you mean Hardwood Ash. some may contain heavy metals so don't over do it on vegetables
   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash #23  
I haven’t experimented with altering the pH of soils for plants with it, but lately I’ve been dumping ashes (and chimney creosote) where ever I see a critter has dug a hole around the edge of a building or concrete slab.
Ever since wife got chickens (and their feed), it’s been a constant battle trying to trap with rats, mice, & chipmunks.
I think it works and animals hate digging in ash or creosote.
   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash #24  
The OP is interesting for those wanting to be surgical in their application of wood ash. I'm on a small acreage, and from spring through late fall, the property produces about 100-150 cu/ft of grass clippings, leaves and household compost. Good stuff!

The past few years we have started up our "little ag-patch." About 1000 sq/ft with a 200 sq/ft greenhouse. The ground is not great, so raised beds, gravel base for drainage and a soil mix. The mix is 1/2 dark soil, 1/3 compost and the rest (less than a quarter) is wood ash from a 6 foot wide burn pit that reduces the winter branch-fall, brush clearing and tree-falling to tractor-buckets of nice powdered ash. Of course, the whole "recipe" is mixed with the tractor bucket and it is also the basic unit of measurement.

Anyway, with no science on the wood ash (ie: adding too much according to the OP..) our yearly soil mix, which gets added to the raised beds, while the bulk of the old soil is taken out and recycled, has been producing excellent yields on all the vegetables and - because we are in Canada and growing is legal - the pot plants have been thriving like crazy in the greenhouse. Last season, 2 plants produced more than 4 the year before!

I will look into adding sulphur, as suggested, as soon as I can figure out where to get it....
   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash
  • Thread Starter
My experience is no ill effects happen from over applying ash. I’ve had it literally piled on my grass with no side effects.
I have tossed it on grass too. My soil is a tad acidic my water will chew through copper pipes. maybe yours is acidic too?
Also Grass is among the toughest plants on earth , nothing like the finicky vegetbles we grow to eat.
   / Thought I'd share this on wood ash #27  
Great information Raul. My only heat is wood and supplies me with more than enough hardwood ashes. I can attest to applying more than needed wood ashes to the gardens here with heavy soil. The biggest issue with over application here was the black ash like scabs that grew on the potatoes ... worse on the red skinned than the white skinned. Most of the ashes are used on my steep driveway now after clearing the snow providing excellent traction, and also around young conifers for a boost of nutrition.