[permaculture] Wood Ashes as a soil amendment

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Sat Dec 16 13:59:28 EST 2006

what about incorporating ash into a compost system. even a slow pile 
in-situ, later used as a planting site or spread.

Allan Balliett wrote:

>>Alan, and all,
>>Go easy with that stuff. Even where soils are on the acid side I NEVER
>>do more than a light dusting with wood ash. It's VERY alkaline. Clients
>>in San Francisco indiscriminately dumped it in piles in their landscape
>>and nearly killed their rhododendrons and azaleas before I discouraged
>>the practice. They had a tiny landscape and were generating more ash
>>than the space could absorb. If you have a wooded area, you can return
>>it to the trees but broadcast it widely and thinly. Even when I add it
>>to compost I apply it only in very thin layers. It can kill worms, too,
>>if applied too heavily. Who knows the effect on microflora and fauna?
>I think the pH of oak wood ash is about 8.5. Azaleas and rhodies are 
>acid loving plants, so, yes, I'd keep wood ash away from them. I'm 
>not sure about reasonable applications of wood ash killing worms, but 
>thanks for the advice. I guess my question was 'how can I effectively 
>buffer the ash when applying it,' like how much elemental sulphur to 
>bring the pH down to 6.5, or something like that. Or if its' even 
>worth fooling with wood stove wood ash as a garden input. Thanks! 
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