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Uses for Fireplace Ashes

Keeping your fireplace ashes mostly cleaned out makes for better air circulation around your fire, and the ashes can be useful in the garden. This guide is about uses for fireplace ashes.

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March 2, 2011 Flag
7 found this helpful

As long as you follow a few simple precautions, wood ashes can be used to benefit the garden in three ways: as a fertilizer, as a soil amendment, or as an insect repellent.

Wood ash.

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April 24, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

I need some ideas on what I can do with all the wood ash from our wood furnace and fire place. In the winter we use it like salt on the snow and ice. But what can I use it for now? Is it good in the garden?

By Diva53d from Foymount, Ontario

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May 5, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you all so much for the suggestions! I can use many of them.

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May 23, 20090 found this helpful

CAll your local extension service, they may ask what you plant in the garden or tell you what kinds of areas in the yard you can dispose of this at.

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November 29, 20090 found this helpful

You can actually buy Real Wood Ashes on Amazon. Just found it!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002TMTCY2/?tag=thrif06-20

1 Pound of Oak Wood Ash (Ashes Natural Fertilizer, Change PH Levels in Soil, Ward Off Slugs, Protect Plants Over Winter, Control Pond Algae, Boost Your Organic Tomato Plants, Compost, Make Soap, Shine Silver)

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January 1, 2005 Flag
1 found this helpful

Use ashes from your fireplace to sprinkle in your garden. It wards off slugs, as well as many other harmful insects. The ashes act as shards of glass as they crawl on the dirt.

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June 12, 2008 Flag
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Have a chimney? Here's a different use for your wood ash. It could be used for any household cleaning needs that requires scouring. It can also be used in the garden as fertilizer and if you have a pen for livestock, the ash can be sprinkled on the floor and animal droppings before sweeping. Saves you a few pennies that would have been used to buy cleaning detergents. (Did you know that wood ash, specifically that of the palm tree, is one of the two ingredients for making native soap (the other being palm kernel oil) in some parts of Africa)

By NY from Upper Darby, PA

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February 13, 2008 Flag
1 found this helpful

Don't know what to do with those ashes? This is a tip for those who have ash from a wood burner or fireplace. Place it in your garden or flower beds over winter, not all in the same place, just here and there.

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June 28, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

If you have a fireplace or wood stove, take your ashes and put them around your plants. Your plants will grow better, and less or no weeds will grow there.

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November 21, 2007 Flag
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Can I use wood ashes on my pineapple and apple tree?

Hardiness Zone: 8b

Robert from Montverde, Florida

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December 5, 20070 found this helpful

I didn't know pineapples grew on a tree.

Or is that a name for an oramental tree?

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful

No one said pineapples grew on trees. If you look it says

pineapple and apple tree, not pineapple tree.

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January 21, 2001 Flag
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What can I do with wood ash? Besides tossing in the woods. What garden plants or veggies like it?

By Linda

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Anonymous Flag
January 22, 20010 found this helpful

We have a request from November that deals with part of this question. - Editor

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January 27, 20010 found this helpful

Just about *all* garden variety plants can use the ash... just work it into the topsoil when preparing for planting. Also, lillies are especially appreciative of ashes, as are any plants in the onion/garlic family.

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January 28, 20010 found this helpful

We put our wood stove ashes in the garden. My husband roto-tils it all in and it is good for all vegetables.

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January 14, 2014 Flag
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During these winter months when fireplaces are in high use, you will generate quite a bit of ash. We clean out our fireplace into a paper grocery bag. The bag is then rolled shut tight down to the level of the ash and placed into a storage tub with a secure lid. One tub will hold quite a few bags.

These bags will be periodically be added to our compost heaps throughout the Spring and Summer. I even take one or two out the pile now and simply place the bag in the pile. Wet weather will break down the bag and keep the ash from blowing around.

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    April 24, 2009 Flag
    0 found this helpful
    By Ellen Brown

    ***

    ***

    Question:

    What is the best way to discard ashes from your fireplace? Is there another use for this ash? Any suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks,
    Martha

    Answer:

    Martha,

    Wood ash has a lot of uses. Here are just a few suggestions.

    1. A fertilizer for the yard and garden. Wood ash contains 10-25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5-15% potassium and 1-3% phosphorus. This makes it a good (0-2-10) fertilizer for the garden. The type of wood you burn does play a role in the amount of nutrients it contains. Hardwoods generally produce 3 times more ash that contains 5 times more nutrients than softwoods. Ash will temporarily change (increase) the pH of garden soil, so you should only use it sparingly and not at all if your soil pH is already over 7.0. Two pounds of wood ash equals about 1 pound of ground limestone. When used as a fertilizer, wood ash should be applied at least two months before high nitrogen fertilizers because it promotes the loss of nitrogen from ammonia-based fertilizers. Don't use wood ash on acidic-loving plants like rhododendron, blueberries or azaleas and don't add wood ash to the compost pile.

    2. As a glass cleaner. Wood ash is a key ingredient in lye soap. It can be mixed with a bit of water (or dabbed on a damp sponge) and used to clean dirty fireplace doors.

    3. As an pest deterrent. Sprinkle small amounts around the perimeter of your garden to deter slugs and snails.

    4. As a spot remover on wood furniture. Mix it in with a small amount of water until you create a paste. Rub over rings left by water glasses or hot beverages, and follow up with a furniture polish. Test on a small area first.

    5. As traction. In the winter, sprinkle wood ash on slippery walkways or driveways to improve traction. Wipe you feet before going inside, because the ashes will easily track indoors.

    About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. <a href="post_request.ldml?email_subject=Gardening">Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

    Answers:

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    I put mine on the garden and in the chicken yard (keeps down the smell and insects) chickens will dust bathe in them too. They are better for icy walks and steps than salt, as they don't kill the grass or eat the cement like salt can. You do have to keep a rug at the door or take off your shoes at the door. Ashes and melted ice make for great tracks. Carry some in the trunk of your car in a milk jug. iI you get stuck or have to walk on ice you have your handy ashes. (09/28/2006)

    By CarlaB

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    When I have wood ashes I pour them on the soil where I will be planting radishes. No worms. Epsom salts works too. (09/28/2006)

    By Siris

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    I also put them on my vegetables in the garden to get rid of aphids, worked last year on collards and Swiss chard. (09/28/2006)

    By Anonymous

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    They used to make soap from animal fat and wood ash. Probably a stretch for 2006, but then there are worse hobbies, too. (11/17/2006)

    By Dan - Iowa

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    I have used ashes and mayo on wood - it works great when you have a lot of wax buildup, but I would not try and use to for polishing. Note: make sure the ashes are free of debris, for that will only scratch the table. I sifted mine before using it to eliminate the problem. Also, scrub very gently when first applying; you can always scrub harder later. (12/02/2006)

    By mpfickling

    Wood Ash

    If you want to mix it with your compost pile it will delay the decay reaction, but I mix it with some 10-10-10 first in a bucket with water to make sure there are no live embers. Mixing it with the fertilizer helps make a more potent compost. (11/01/2008)

    By Akshay

    Ashes, insects, slugs and snails.

    Ashes can also be used as leavening for bread by putting the ash in a box, mixing plenty of water in and catching it in a pan below the box. This was a colonial method, but is still done in parts of the Appalachians and elsewhere in the world. Another way is just catching the wild yeast from the air of a room with the fireplace. This method is found on the internet by searching "wild yeast roundup".

    Ash from coal especially has reflective properties that will melt ice and snow super fast if the sun is out. That is more cinders than just ash I guess.

    I use it mostly to make walking safer and my path easier to see when I go out to milk the cows and check the greenhouse and chicken coop. Most of the time I am doing it in the dark on the way there in the morning and in the dark on the way back at night. Really helps a lot. (01/29/2009)

    By Sigh

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    September 26, 2006 Flag
    0 found this helpful
    Q: I have heard that you can put fireplace ashes on certain plants. Can someone tell me what plants this works for and what plants I shouldn't put them on? Are there any other uses for ashes?

    Diane

    A: Diane,

    Fireplace ash (wood ash) can be safely added to most garden soils, with a few exceptions. Depending on the type of tree burned, wood ash varies in alkalinity and will act as a liming agent in the soil, raising the pH. This makes it a useful additive if you have acidic soil or compost heaps that you want neutralized. Root crops, bulbs, annuals and most perennials will find it beneficial. Tomatoes seem to love it. Because of its alkaline nature, you should avoid giving it to acidic loving plants like rhododendrons, azaleas, cranberries or blueberries. It may also promote potato scab when applied to potatoes. Store fireplace ash safely in a metal garbage container and apply it to plants in the spring. Wood ash is easily absorbed into the soil so you only need 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch to dress flowerbeds. Wood ash from treated wood contains the residue from harmful chemicals and should not be used in the garden.

    Other ways to use wood ash are as a slug repellent around plants, a glass cleaner (use on fireplace glass-rub with newspaper) or as a melting agent (provides traction on snow and ice). It's also used as a boiling agent to break down cellulose plant material when making homemade paper.

    By Ellen Brown

    More Answers:

    Fireplace Ashes

    I don't know about fireplace ashes on plants, but I do know its the absolute best for putting on icy sidewalks and stairs. Its also great for putting behind and in front of your car tires when the roads are icy or snowy to give you car more traction. (12/04/2000)

    By roxsierose

    Wood Ashes

    Wood ashes add potash to the soil. They also help to keep soft bodied insects off plants (aphids and such). This time of year I add them right to the garden soil. (12/04/2000)

    By Stan - Michigan

    Traction

    Ashes can be used on walkways when they are slippery. Put some in a box and carry some in your car and it will give you traction when you are stuck on ice. (12/04/2000)

    By D - Lancaster, PA

    A Link

    Here's a link that might be helpful to you: http://ruralwideweb.com/tufwashes.htm. There are about ten different uses for the ashes, most of which are applicable to those in rural areas. As a bit of advice, avoid putting fireplace ashes around roses or other plants that are acid-loving. If you mix the ashes with your regular compost (or bag of fertilizer) it will stretch the product and feed your plants as well! (01/29/2003)

    By beachcitymom

    Azaleas

    When I work in my yard and burn leaves, tree limbs and any other wood trash you'll find in the yard, I let sit for about two days to cool (scattering thoroughly) then I put the ashes on my azaleas. They thrive on acid soil and this it the best I've found to make my garden do well. You can actually see the difference in the dark green leaves in about 3 days! (10/18/2005)

    By Greeneyesmom

    Uses for Fireplace Ashes

    I always put them in my yard and not the trash, so I won't add to the landfill. (10/19/2005)

    By Ziggee

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