Using Wood Ashes for Garden Path - Knowledgebase Question

Lancaster, MA
Avatar for canfieldk
Question by canfieldk
May 9, 1999
I have a large pile of ashes and charcoal bits leftover from burning fallen branches. Would a good use of this be as the base of the path I want to create into our woods? I would cover the ashes and charcoal with a layer of wood chips. I reviewed your library of questions re use of wood ashes and saw the warnings that they can make garden soil too alkaline. For my proposed use it would be desirable if the ashes prevented the growth of plants along the path. What do you think?

Answer from NGA
May 9, 1999
As long as you are confident that you won't want to change the placement of your paths at a later date, and that you don't want to plant any acid-loving plants right next to the path, I think that would be a good way to "recycle" your pile of ashes. I would caution you that ashes get kind of messy and "icky" for lack of a better word, when wet, so you should put a thick layer of wood chips over the ashes. Good luck on your woodland path and thanks for searching our database!

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