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ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Posted by imresident7 5 WI (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 16, 08 at 21:42

hi
first yr of sfg
this is a newbie question so here goes
can the ashes from a wood pellet stove be used directly in the sfg and/or in the compost pile? thanks for all the forth coming advice and comments.!!!!!!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Where in Wisconsin are you? And what is your soil's pH? Here in the souteast part of the state the soil is quite alkaline and wood ashes are generally not a good idea. Especially the volume a pellet stove may produce.

tj


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I'd compost 'em.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

hey tj i'm in
sheboygan county
ph is 6.5 in sfg filled with mel's mix
compost it is !!???!!


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I live in SE Wisconsin, in the north central part of Racine County, and we have slightly acidic soil. This area in general does, but I am not sure where the other person is that said they have alkaline soil, maybe closer to the lake? Where I used to live in northern IL I had alkaline soil, but the soil is quite different here.

I have a wood stove, and I sprinkle the ashes on my gardens and around my orchard as fertilizer (has a lot of potassium and calcium.) Ashes from a pellet stove are even finer than from a wood stove, so the quantity isn't that great. Composting them is sort of pointless since they are already finely broken down, and a lot of their nutrients dissolve in water quickly and would be lost. I would think you could sprinkle them lightly in your sfg, and around the rest of your yard as well.

Marcia


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

ok thnks led zep
straight to the garden it is ;)


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Your current pH is perfect for a vegetable garden so why mess it up by adding all that wood ash? Check the recommended growing pH for the things you grow.

If you choose to use it, the recommended amount to add if your soil is too acidic is no more than 1 lb. per 100 sq. feet so I sure wouldn't get carried away with it. And keep in mind that pellets have additive/binders in them that one doesn't find in normal wood ash. ;)

Dave

Far better to add it to the compost pile where some of its effect will be neutralized.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I agree with Dave and would not add the ash directly to your soil. Much better to put it in the compost where the soluble salt concentrations will become diluted. Add a bit of soil to the compost along with the ash to capture the soluble nutrients.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

good point there digdirt about the additives/binders
and thanks to all who replied
ok then the compost pile it is
that's my final answer regis ;)


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

If you live in northern WI, where all the pine trees grow, then you have acidic soil... if you live in southern WI where the deciduous trees grow then you probably have alkaline soil...
If you live in the middle of the state, you could check the USDA soils atlas...

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA soil survey


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Hey folks... DONT DO IT! Wood Pellet Ash frequently is LOADED with Aluminum (Al) and Magnesium. Toxic levels. The cheaper brands that most people use have added aluminum and magnesium for a hotter fire. I just found this out AFTER I have been dumping pellet ash in my garden all winter. Stupid me. Aluminum restricts root length, root spread, and generally most plants hate it. Use enough and you might just kill your garden for 10 years. Here is a good, scientific link for you about aluminum, which in too many pellet ash samples, is in soluable form: http://plantmineralnutrition.net/Leonweb pubs/AR213-PP55-18_459-493_.pdf


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I wouldn't use ash from a processed woodpellet,etc. But there is a big difference between that crap and pure ash from pure trees. People I would not be afraid to use woodash from your fire. Now to the fear that it will cause an imbalance in pH,etc... Woodash Is highly alkaline, but As long as you don't apply pounds of it at once, I cannot see any detrimental effects.. Woodash is full of minerals! I frequently, frequently throw light dustings of woodash on the garden and it does wonders! Don't be afraid of using woodash from pure wood!

Joe


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

The people at Wisconsin State University will tell you to have a good reliable soil test done before applying wood ash to your soil, just as the soil scientists in about every other state would.
That pine trees grow, and grow quite well, is not an indication that the soil is acidic, nor do the pine trees make the soil acidic. Some conifers (pine trees to some people) do prefer to grow in acidic soils while others prefer a soil near neutral or even alkaline. Plants will often confound us.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

joemabe: I looked at the paper you linked and it does talk about aluminum in acidic soils, but says nothing about ash. I am curious where you are getting the info that wood pellet ash has toxic levels of soluble Al and Mg? Not saying it doesn't, because I don't know what is put into wood pellets, just asking for the background.

One thing to keep in mind is that 1/16" of ash on the soil is a very tiny percentage by weight when compared to 6" of soil. But a typical yard and garden can absorb hundreds of lb at that application rate.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

@toxcrusdr... Great question! In my pellet wood stove I always get crystallised, super-hard ash lumps. Not ash, but mire of a glassy charcoal resin, in addition to ash. My nephew did a search and let me know that tests show it to be laced with the heavy metals. I don't know the source, and I should have stated that in my first post. Can someone find the source of info for toxi and me?


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RE: AL in wood pellet ash

@toxcrusdr... Great question! In my pellet wood stove I always get crystallised, super-hard ash lumps. Not ash, but mire of a glassy charcoal resin, in addition to ash. My nephew did a search and let me know that tests show it to be laced with the heavy metals. I don't know the source, and I should have stated that in my first post. Can someone find the source of info for toxi and me?


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Ashes in the garden = messed up chemistry. Be happy to put them in the garbage...i learned the hard way...


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Humans been applying wood ashes to soil for centuries... I still can't wrap my head around why people are giving it such a bad rap..


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Humans been applying wood ashes to soil for centuries... I still can't wrap my head around why people are giving it such a bad rap..

Slash and burn agriculture has been successfully done for millennia.

I happily throw my wood stove and charcoal grill ashes all over the place.

I too would like to see a source about adding aluminum to wood pellets. My impression was that they're just compressed sawdust.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

If wood ashes cause a problem it's because wood ashes are highly alkaline. Back on the frontier, grandma would take those ashes, leach water through them to get lye (potassium hydroxide), reusing the water with several batches of ashes until she'd get it strong enough to make soap.

So, a pile of ashes on the ground are going to be pretty strong, but I'd also say that a thin spread of the same ashes, not put too close to living plants or at least in small amounts, would be fine. I've done it for years. In fact, a few years of wood ashes improved the ground under our deodar trees.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

Wood ashes have a lot of calcium and magnesium carbonate...the calcium can cause soil alkalinity via reaction with existing soil and magnesium carbonate is very highly alkaline on it's own. The combo of the two...especially if your soil is receptive to calcium sequestration as a means to raise pH can cause some issue if applied in heavy amounts.

If you're going to add wood ash, even in small amounts...it's best to add it before planting because wood ash is very water soluble, therefore quickly available/acting.

It takes a lot of wood ash to permanently change pH in most soils, but a temporary pH change takes far less.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I often chime in on this subject ....

I live on alkaline soils, the pH varies from 7.2 to 7.8. I burn 6-8 cords of wood a year, as did the owner before me, so figure 50 years of every winter week, throwing 3 gallons of wood ash around the place. When there's snow on the ground, I just heave it out widely over the snowy lawn so that any coals go out quickly. When there's no snow, I dump it in a pit, which is 5 feet from an oak tree.

In the spring, the first grass to 'green up' is where I've thrown the ash. The oak tree pit gets flooded / seeps out, flooded/ seeps out etc. with irrigation water over the course of the summer, and the ash gets washed on down the slope. Where the grass grows much better, deeper green, thicker, than anywhere else on the lawn.

The only times I've had problems are when I throw a 4-6" thick clump of ash on soils that are only a few inches deep, with sandstone underneath. That will kill the grass. But even then, by the end of the summer, the dead patch is covered by the grasses encroaching from around.

I throw ash in my snow-covered flower beds all the time. I've stopped throwing ash in the vegetable gardens because I pile up grass clippings and chopped leaves all over the beds in the fall, and I'd likely set that on fire.

I've also gardened on acid soils for years when I lived overseas, and we often burned charcoal for cooking, and used the ash constantly. The benefits were pretty dramatic.

Of course, your milage may vary. I'd suggest starting off by dumping the ash in some out-of-the-way place and see what effect you find.


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RE: ashes from wood pellet stove in compost pile/garden????

I landfilled my woodstove ash for years and wasn't happy about it. After doing a lot of reading here, I've now started to spread it thinly on a half acre of lawn. It is fast acting, stronger than calcium carbonate lime, and will leach away faster than lime.

I'm really interested in what's in the pellets. It is worth noting that there are trace metals everywhere. There is detectable arsenic and lead in your garden soil, which came from the rocks that the soil arose from. Metals are also found in wood ash, although As and Pb are not useful to plants. I am less familar with the amounts of metals in ash than I am with natural soil background. My point is that just because they are there does not mean there is a problem. The amount is what is important. If I had numbers I would be able to evaluate that. I think many sawdust products are simply compressed w/o binders, and the heat and pressure make them stick well enough to handle till you burn them.

BTW I'm making a tumbling sifter for ash, to separate out the charcoal (for the garden, BBQ or back into the stove) and the nails and staples from crate & pallet lumber. I've done some hand sifting and intended to spread the fine ash with the Scotts spreader, but being a powder it plugs up the outlet holes and does not dispense. I spread 10 gal of ash using a kitchen sifter the other day, just walking and shaking. With a slight breeze, it spread out nicely and worked pretty well.

This post was edited by toxcrusadr on Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 13:49


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