Ashes from my burn pile

Southern Gardener

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I have several pine trees and two oak trees that really make a mess. I rake and burn what I don't use for mulch and in the end, I have a huge pile of ash. What can I do with this? Can I compost or can I add it directly to my vegetable garden I'm planning?

Thanks.
Joan
 

Reinbeau

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Too much ash will wreak havoc with the pH of your soil. Why don't you compost those oak leaves? They make wonderful leaf mould!
 

Reinbeau

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Interesting, yes, but the overuse of wood ash will cause certain salts to buildup in your soil to toxic levels. Here's a page that outlines some of the potential problems.

More good info regarding pH levels and testing - many of us here in the Northeast are burning lots of wood to keep warm, so we've got lots of ashes to spread!

And as noted in the first page, don't use wood ashes where you're going to grow potatoes, it'll promote potato scab.
 

Dilly Girl

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Can I safely mulch with oak leaves, these are the tiny live oak not the big pretty oak leaves?

I have an area where they are a foot deep and under are dark and clumpy. Can I put that on trees and tomato plants?

Dilly
 

DrakeMaiden

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Answering the original question -- ashes are good on certain plants and only if you don't have overly alkaline soil.

Plants that particularly benefit from wood ash (that I know of) are asparagus and lilac. I'm sure there are more, but I haven't gotten to the point of discovering them yet.

I use ashes sparingly and only on plants that I know can take it, so you can see I don't use them very often.
 

Dilly Girl

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So sorry that I posted off topic. Please mods delete this an my previous post and I will re post. This nice person Drake Maiden kindly pointed out how off topic I went not the original question she wanted to reply to. sheesh.
 

DrakeMaiden

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Hey DillyGirl -- I didn't mean to be offensive! I was just trying to clarify that I didn't have the info to answer your question, but was responding to the first, since my post fell directly below yours in sequence.

Asking a question on someone else's post is fine and often it will get answered, but your question will probably be answered quicker if you start a new thread.

Peace?
 

digitS'

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I don't have oak leaves to use but know a gardener who just runs over them with the lawnmower (after moving 'em where they'll blow into his garden). By Spring, the leaves are ready to till into the soil. He has a very fine garden on what was once, he tells me, hard clay.

People worry about changing pH by adding oak leaves or pine needles. I've got the pine needles and really appreciate them for composting. Here's something from Penn State commenting on the usefulness of pine needles and comparing them with oak leaves. They contend that there's good value in both.

Wood ashes aren't leaves, or wood for that matter. Minerals get quite concentrated in the ashes. I once put wood ashes in a small part of my garden and was disappointed by the result - however, my soil and even the irrigation water tends to be fairly high pH. After that experience, the wood ashes went straight into the compost rather than the garden. Well I say "straight" but you gotta watch the hot coals - setting your compost pile on fire wouldn't be a wonderful thing :rolleyes: .

Steve
who likes Envirogirl's Gandhi quote . . .
 

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