Ashes in garden?

We live in an area where we burn leaves and other yard waste. Would the resulting ash be high in trace elements and be good to sprinkle around plants?
Also, I have heard ash is alkaline. Should I mix in some powdered sulfur before sprinkling? Most of our plants are acid loving (viburnums, azaleas, camellias).
Mike Prager Beaufort, NC (on the coast in zone 8a) (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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Ashes are potash-rich for most plants. Avoid putting ashes on plants that are acid-loving. You can store the ashes in bins--it will keep as long as you keep the ashes absolutely dry. Ashes are great for creating barriers around plants that are attacked by slugs or snails. But, why burn leaves when you can make a compost pile?
On Thu, 04 Nov 2004 15:42:04 GMT, Mike Prager

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Why do that, they make wonderful compost or mulch for the plants if you chop them up with the mower. I put a huge pile out in and area I'll be planting in next spring, hoping to amend the area as much as I can naturally. Colleen Ann Zone 5 CT
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (GrampysGurl) wrote:

Rightio. If composted it can be recycled back into the garden to keep the top soil rich & grand & of the correct mild acidity liked by the majority of plants; but if burned to ash it is mostly useful as a lime & potash fertilizer such as for turf. The compost is universally useful, the ash is selectively useful & possibly harmful toa things that dislike alkalinity.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Check out this website http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/woodash.html
Only thing I recall hearing is, don't use the ash from store bought charcoal, and the ash from wax logs, like duraflame.
Snooze
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Ash is quite alkaline. Just as a rough guesstimate, about half as alkaline as the same quantity of lime. Using a substantial amount of it can raise soil pH more than two points. There's a discussion in Gulf Coast Gardening at http://www.gulfcoast-gardening.com/Newsletters/Newsletters_2002/NL_Jan_2_2002.htm
If your soil and plants can tolerate an alkaline amendment, ash is an especially good source of potash and phosphate, hardwood ash in particular.
Acidophiles do not sound like a good choice for mulching with ash. Azaleas are especially sensitive to anything alkaline and will go chlorotic.
--
Chris Green

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Thanks, everyone, for the helpful answers. Many asked, why not compost the leaves? While I appreciate the idea, the lot is exposed on three sides, and we haven't found a good place for a compost heap. Also, the leaves are all oak & in my experience take years to rot. If I mow over them first, they aren't picked up well by the sweeper and are hard on the grass. The yard is too large for us to rake by hand.
We did try a tumbling compost maker and will put it into service again to absorb some of the leaves. It's been in the garage since we tired of moving it in and out during hurricane season.
Mike Prager Beaufort, NC (on the coast in zone 8a) (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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On Thu, 04 Nov 2004 23:11:52 GMT, Mike Prager

Hey Mike,
A compost pile is not all that unsightly. We planted an arc of Rose of Sharon around the compost heaps. The ROS fed by all that compost, grew rapidly to over 12 feet tall! Now you can't even see the piles, although they are exposed during the winter months due to the leaf drop. Compost is so important, almost magical, I can't imagine gardening without some.
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Phisherman wrote:

Hmm. . . . I'll have to think again about where to put one and what we could use for screening. Maybe Viburnum tinus....
M
Mike Prager Beaufort, NC (on the coast in zone 8a) (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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wood ash, yes. leaf ash I bet is not as high in micros. Wood ash is typically 50% Ca, 10% Mg, 8%K, 3%P.

The pH is 10.4 and ash is murder for all those plants. Use it for your other perennials, in the lawn and in the vegetable garden. Specially in the veg garden, if you have those plants it means your soil is acid. Adding wood ash will help things like chard, onions or beets a lot, and will improve the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce too.

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and cukes, with a few zuchini, pole beans, lettuce, and raised beds for scallions, garlic, basil, and dill. I also use tons of rotted hardwood leaf mulch (provided by our local recyle facility) as a means to mulch down weeds. If all these organics are rototilled into the soil and I bend in wood ash in the fall, should I be concerned about ph for the following spring planting of any of the above? We are upstate NY and snow covers the beds for several months and a wet spring.
BTW, I have had fantastic tomato flavor and my cherry tomatos are typically twice the size as sold in the store. I think you've posted before on this subject and recommended oak wood chips to add back some acid?
Stew Corman from sunny Endicott
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