Can Wood Ashes Be Put Around Fruit Trees?

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Wood ashes can be good for fruit trees.
Wood ashes can be good for fruit trees. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Rory)

If you use a wood stove or fireplace, save the ashes for feeding your fruit trees. Dry wood ashes are a fertilizer you can make at home and are a good soil additive for your fruit trees and orchard.

Function

Wood ash is about 40 to 45 percent calcium carbonate, which makes it a good substitute for lime in rendering the soil more alkaline for good fruit tree growth.

Amounts

Use about one gallon of ash to a square yard of ground under your trees annually, and about half a gallon per yard if the soil is sandy. Under small trees, use two pints of wood ash around the base.

Benefits

Wood ash is high in calcium content and roughly half as effective as lime in neutralizing acidic soil. Check your soil pH levels every year or two. Ash is an effective way to increase soil pH if it's too acidic.

Considerations

Do not use wood ash around acid-loving trees such as pine, spruce and junipers, or around azaleas, rhododendrons or blueberries. Keep the wood ash dry when storing it.

Warning

Do not use ashes from treated wood, wax logs or other treated wood products. These contain chemicals that may be harmful to your soil and trees.

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