How to Use Fireplace Ashes for Tree Fertilizer

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Many people are surprised to learn that fireplace ashes make a very good fertilizer for plants and trees. Because the ash is a leftover residue of wood, it has a high pH level that neutralizes high acid levels when mixed into the soil. In fact, many commercially available fertilizers have wood ash mixed into them. However, some trees, such as magnolias, evergreen trees and junipers, do not like high acidity and should not be fertilized with ashes from the fireplace.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Metal container with tight-fitting lid
  • Rake
  • Designate a metal container with a tight-fitting lid to place fireplace ashes into after each fire. Place the container outside the home and make sure the ashes are completely cooled before placing them into the container.

  • Apply the ash fertilizer mixture to trees in the early spring by sprinkling it close to the base of the tree in a ratio of 5 lbs. per 100 square feet.

  • Continue sprinkling the ashes outward from the base of the tree until the tree's drip line is reached. The drip line is the farthest point the branches reach. This is the area that absorbs the most fertilizer through the root system.

  • Use a rake to thoroughly mix the ashes into the soil under the tree.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ash fertilizer also helps repel insects from trees and plants, acting as a natural pesticide.
  • Do not apply ash as fertilizer to fruit trees, magnolias, evergreen trees or junipers as these trees like highly acidic soil and the addition of ash will decrease their fruit production.
  • Only apply ashes to the tree once per year. More often than that causes an imbalance in the pH that is detrimental to plants.

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