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Strasburg, CO (Zone 5a)
I live on the eastern plains of CO.
Aug 20, 2015 2:29 PM CST
|I live in CO and our soil here is very clayie! We also have a wood stove for the winter so we have a lot of wood ash. I like to spread it around our yard in the compost and garden area. My husband says that clay soils don't need wood ash and that I should throw it away. What do you think?|
Aug 20, 2015 3:05 PM CST
|Wood ashes are alkaline, so have a "liming" effect. My understanding is that CO soils are often already alkaline in which case it may not be a good idea to add to that, especially if you wish to grow plants that don't do well when the soil pH gets too high for them. It would also depend on how much you use - it is harder to change the pH of clay compared to sand so would require a larger amount. Do you have any problems with plant leaves turning yellowish while the veins stay green? I don't think wood ashes would do much if anything to improve the structure of clay, usually compost is the best thing for that.|
Aug 20, 2015 3:37 PM CST
|Wood ash in any quantity is not necessarily a good thing (although I hear that some veggies like it). It's not a matter of breaking up clay as it is about pH getting too high. Just a little bit is all that's needed if a soil test indicates you need to raise pH. You could add it to a compost pile but only if it's a large pile.|
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Aug 20, 2015 3:58 PM CST
|Moderation is what I aim for, from the widest variety of materials possible. Too much of any 1 thing could be detrimental, but hardly anything would be harmful if spread around in trace amounts though, over time, if it's something of an extreme PH and is used alone repeatedly, results could eventually be disappointing. |
Whatever organic matter your home/property generates can be composted, either in a pile or bin, or by other methods, or spread around as you described regarding the ashes. A well-varied mix of organic matter will help dramatically improve any kind of soil, from clay to sand, adding tilth and fertility, moderating moisture levels. Any plant can only be as good as the soil in which it is growing, so whatever one can do to improve it is worthwhile, very rewarding. Don't think you will always have clay soil if you want to change it to "black gold" garden soil.
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Aug 20, 2015 7:48 PM CST
|Simple, to the point, and from a reputable source:|
Aug 21, 2015 6:26 AM CST
|I'm late to the party and see that your question has already been answered.|
So what to do with the wood ashes? If you burn only hardwood, you can use the ashes to make soap.
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