How to use burnt wood / ash best?

toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)June 6, 2012

Ok so I burnt the wood pile again and have a mound of ash and charcoal like chips. In the past I have just dumped these in the tree line or filled holes.

Do they have rumored to make soil more acidic?

If so do I even want to fool with that around a sourwood? Oxydendrum arboretum (spelling!). I might be willing to baby the tree for a bit but when its 20 foot tall it better live on its own in neutral soil.

Perhaps just around the azaela sound better?

Thanks in advance

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Wrong direction. Wood ashes make soil more alkaline.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:36PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Well ignore my friends I will!

That would have tought the azaela not to expect special treatment.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:17AM
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Around here farmers use it on thier fields, to make it more alkaline after all the acid rain. Wealthier farmers buy chalk though

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:11AM
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waiting for ken to say it's voodoo marketing.

best use it with a light hand. it's powerful stuff and this batch may not have the same properties as last batch or the next it's almost impossible to say authoritatively how much to use on any given plant/patch of land.

as to whether or not to use all means, use it. its available and has widely recognized value. it is not used as a recommended fertilizer or admendment because of issues regarding quality control. it's hard to accurately gauge how much to use given a specific area. and when that area is in acreage its even harder to get enough whereas chalk (or lime) is more easily available, spreads evenly, and has greater predictability. (given this soil test if you add x amount it will create this result...and will actually happen). you cuold add wood ash for ten years and have nonproblems...or you could wind up with big issues in year three. too many factors.

as to whether or not a particular tree is ever too big for a little extra care...doubtful. a little goes a long way.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:40AM
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I usually dump several buckets in my compost piles throughout the winter. But because I have so much (I heat entirely with wood) I am afraid to dump too much of it in any one spot because of all the enormous oaks and hickories.
I don't know that it would affect them but I tend to err on the side of caution with regard to my big trees.

Fortunately I own a large wooded area outside my "yard" proper and my husband is amenable to trekking through the woods in ten degree weather, so I have him spread it around a bit.
Don't know how folks without this luxury deal with it all.

The next time we dig out compost I need to remember to burrow down and find the soil underneath and do a pH test.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Also an excellent source of potash, one of "the big three" nutrients. I would never throw it in the trash myself, even if using it meant possibly going overboard in one small spot. In the long term, it's all good.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:33PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I heat with wood exclusively also. I spread the ashes out among the trees in the garden. Everywhere but the driveway. Sometimes (rarely) the wood has nails or screws in it. My tree trimming buddy brings me wood sometimes.
I have more trees on my ten acres than when I bought the place 35 years ago. It used to be a semi-wooded cow and horse pasture. More trees, but also more wood, even after all that time heating my house with wood mainly from my property.
An airtight, EPA Certified stove is real efficient.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:01PM
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