How to use ashes from a pellet stove?

raisemybeds(SouthernCT)April 14, 2007

Someone is giving me ashes from their dedicated pellet stove. Can I just spread this around like I would do with lime, on the lawn and in the veggie beds? Or should I add it to my compost bin? Any reason not to use these ashes? Thanks.

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david52 Zone 6

You might wish to use the search function at the bottom of the screen, and type in 'wood ash', there are a multitude of threads on the issue. Wood pellets are saw dust expelled under pressure, and AFAIK, don't have any kind of additive beyond pressure, moisture, and wood.

I am of the school that spreads the stuff everywhere.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 10:12PM
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brdldystlu(5b Mo)

I am of the school of spread everywhere also. Don't know what your soil in your area is like. But I spread it out over my lawn, wood ash, and my tall fescue love it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 6:27AM
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That depends. What does your soil need? What did a good, reliable soil test tell you about your soils pH? Is that soil pH low enough to need this application? How much is needed? Unless you know the answers to these questions putting wood ash on soil can create more problems then it solves.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 6:34AM
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oldmainer(z5 Maine)

Hi raisemybeds...actually the amount of ashes that you have will not have much of an effect on your soil PH unless you add it all in one spot...and then the PH will be effected only on that spot...:-) I'm guessing you have less then a five gallon pail just sprinkle out thinly and garden away. Keep things simple. Franklin

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 1:16PM
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Ohh, five gallon pail for ashes. Wish I'd thoiught of that. Been wanting to save ashes for the garden, and to get a morel mushroom patch started down by the stream.

Oh, and where does one get wood pellet fuel? Need that for substrata for pom pom blanc mushrooms. Already using hay and paper waste to grow some oyster mushrooms on (can't wait for the finished substrata to go in the garden as compost either)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 12:26AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

As mentioned above you will likely be alright, if you don't spread too much. But do use caution - if your soil is where you want it don't use wood ash. Ash can change your soil PH faster than lime.

I used a very small amount one year to combat slugs. My soil test the following year revealed a decent rise in PH and I think it was potassium? Luckily, I was still within limits. But the point is, if your plants don't need it, don't add it.

Personally, I think it is better used to bring a "new garden" into balance.

Good Luck,

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 12:54PM
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mouse- wood pellets are sold in these types of places:

Home Depot
Blue Seal/Agway/Other grain stores
Some hardware stores
Wood Stove & Pellet Stove dealers

Hard to say what your best deal will be...I've seen every price between $4 a bag/$200 a ton (40lb), and $6.75 per bag/$337 per ton.

Standard pellets burn faster, have more ash.
Premium pellets burn cleaner, have less ash.

Thanks for the thread; was wondering if I could use these this year instead of the wood stove ash from a neighbor.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 1:52PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Hey Mouse- good luck on the shrooms. I wish there was an edible species that did well on pine. I haven't found it yet- and I have lots of pines that I took down.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 1:59PM
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I had read somewhere the ash from my pellet stove could be used to destroy moss growing in my yard so I'm spreading it over areas that have moss. Not sure if it's working yet because it takes a while to kill the moss.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 7:04AM
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Since I have moss growing on the dolomite lime covered driveway and the concrete blocks that are the foundation of my house I seriously doubt that just adding something that might possibly raise the pH of soil is going to stop the growth of moss. I find moss growing in places where the level of organic matter in the soil is very low, and I have stopped the growth of moss simply by adding enough shredded leaves to raise the level of organic matter in that soil. Soil Science is a much more complex subject than many people want to be.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 7:13AM
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Raisemybeds, since you are not, I'm sure, throwing gazillion amounts of wood ash onto your lawn, then there is no reason to not do it.

The average homeowner uses fertilizer in the spring to re-vitalize their lawns and in so doing, the nitrogen based fertilizers will acidify the lawn somewhat.

It all comes down to just how much, and for how long we keep spreading such fertilizers and to what extent the acidity is raised. Many other factors contribute to this acidity....including "the rain that falls mainly on the plain".

So unless you are in the business of burning wood and obtaining ashes from a forest fire, go ahead, throw them onto your lawn; it will give some alkalinity that can neutralize to a small extent what the fertilizers do.

To the amount: Don't spread more than 20 lbs of ashes per 1000 square feet. I suggest there are plants that are best given such source of alkaline....and potassium.
Iris, peony, clematis are some examples. But, in giving to these plants, I suggest you mix well with the soil and give when the plants are growing....thus, don't spread them ontop of your garden until late spring/early summer and water it in well.

Wood ashes, as long as they don't come from treated lumber, are great additions to any compost pile.
Store them in plastic bags and use whenever there is ice storms that might blanket over shrubs and trees.
Wood ahses thrown over such will often have the ice removed in short order due to the sun's rays and can prevent damage occurring due to weight of the ice.
The lawn or garden bed under such dusting of ashes, will often be kept bare of snowcover until such time the amount of snow overpowers what the sun is doing.

Great for under the wheels to gain traction.
On sidewalks, remove slippery surface.
Melts snow in no time.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 7:00PM
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