The Q&A Archives: Use of ashes in the garden

Question: In the spring, I burn all the twigs, dead branches, & rakings from my perennial gardens. Can I use the ashes in my garden? If yes, what plants would benefit--hydrangea? azalea? hosta? daylilies?


Answer: You can spread small amounts of wood ash in your garden without harm to existing or future plants. Wood ashes are a good source of the minerals potash and calcium. You can use up to 25 pounds of ashes over a 1000 square foot area every 2-3 years without upsetting the balance of nutrients in your soil. The plants you mention all like acidic soils and ashes are alkaline so I'd avoid spreading the ashes around or near these plants. Instead you can spread the ashes near the borders of your flower beds, over a spot for a vegetable garden, or even over your lawn. Best wishes with your garden!

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