Creative ideas for ash disposal in yard

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Crash525

New Member
Apr 24, 2021
48
Niles michigian
Hell all, I know ash disposal has been discussed but does anyone have a creative way or idea to get rid of their ashes in a way that's not an eye sore or that will get blown away?

Here is my situation. I have 3 aces on a pretty open property. I have a small tree line that I share with neighbors. It is very windy where I am at. Im afraid to leave a buck of ashes outside because the buck and lid have blown off and over before. Currently I dump my ashes near the tree line. I usually get half a bucket full then I fill it with water and then dump it about 5 to 10 feet from the tree line. It's about 80 feet from my house. Snow comes a goes so I can't count on that. It's always windy so I fear that if I don't water it down it will blow and catch something on fire. I'm a fire fighter by the way. So it makes me a bit more paranoid. I don't really have a way to spread them in my yard.

I was thinking of some kind of pit like a fire pit. I don't currently have one. Or stone/ gravel in the ground that's slightly dug down so it's harder to see and less likely to get blown out. Does anyone else have any ideas or deal with something similar? Once winter is over I can clean it out and spread the ashes across my yard.
 

Northern NH Mike

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2008
205
Northern NH
It's definitely not creative, but currently I have a couple of galvanized containers with tight fitting lids that I am "storing" the ash in. We only burn on the weekends and occasional evenings so we are not producing as much as year rounders. Plan is to use strategically in gardens and maybe experiment with making some soap.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,451
Northern NH
If there is anyone who composts, its good to add to the batch.

Maybe store is and spread it prior to predicted rain?
 

MongoMongoson

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2021
288
Wisconsin
Get a couple of cans with locking lids. I have one of these and it works great. It is windy here, too, and with the normal can the lids blow off. Not with this one. Maybe get two. Fill one, take it out to the fence line. Over time you fill the 2nd, take it out to the fence line, dump the first, and leave the 2nd full to cool.

I have my can sitting in the yard, on a couple of concrete blocks. If you don't have snow, keeping a potentially hot can up out of the weeds is important.

 
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Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
664
Western PA
If there is anyone who composts, its good to add to the batch.

Maybe store is and spread it prior to predicted rain?
Small amounts in the compost pile are OK, but not much--will slow things down. I spread a thin layer of ash on my garden in early winter. I use the rest on my driveway when it is icy. There is so little ash left, even if I burn 4-5 cords, it just seems to disappear. As others have suggested, keeping it in a sealed metal container is a good way to make sure there aren't any live embers.
 

Jason721

Member
Nov 4, 2017
95
southern indiana
Once I know my ashes are not hot and will not cause a fire i spread some in the garden. Some ashes (a thin unnoticeable line) around the house. It seems to keep ants away. The rest of my ashes from the winter i dump in my chicken coop. Chickens love to dust in it and it keeps lice and mites off them.
 
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Dan Freeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 3, 2021
519
NE PA
rumble.com
Small amounts in the compost pile are OK, but not much--will slow things down. I spread a thin layer of ash on my garden in early winter. I use the rest on my driveway when it is icy. There is so little ash left, even if I burn 4-5 cords, it just seems to disappear. As others have suggested, keeping it in a sealed metal container is a good way to make sure there aren't any live embers.
Good to know as I was thinking of adding some to my compost pile. I have large pine trees along the road in my front yard, so I spread a lot of ashes out there for my Forsythia and Rose of Sharons. I did that last year, and they looked much better this year.
 

Northern NH Mike

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2008
205
Northern NH
Once I know my ashes are not hot and will not cause a fire i spread some in the garden. Some ashes (a thin unnoticeable line) around the house. It seems to keep ants away. The rest of my ashes from the winter i dump in my chicken coop. Chickens love to dust in it and it keeps lice and mites off them.
Hadn't thought of using the ashes in the chicken coop. I'll be giving that a try.
 

NewGuy132

Member
Jan 22, 2021
106
Central MA
I've been filling up my firepit. It is almost at capacity. I'll probably shovel the fire pit out once the snow melts off of it. The dump in town has a disposal area for ashes. Not really sure how ill get them there, but its the dump or ill put it in the regular trashbin for pickup. This has all been outside for weeks now and has been covered in snow for a week or so. Nothing hot in there.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Early Fall and late Spring the ash is stored in my covered metal pail outside (the handle locks in the top). After a week or more I will dump the ash in a pile out back.

My favorite use however is to dump the ash on to my ice- or snow-covered driveway. Works great for melting and traction.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
697
SW Ohio
  • + 1 for spreading on drive and sidewalks
  • if little snow, spread on turf. It's best applied during damp evenings with no wind as not to aggravate the neighbors.
  • fertilize trees and shrubs
  • spread a layer in compost pile
 
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,711
Midwest
+1 on the soap making! ...or if nothing else, you could extract/concentrate the lye and use it for drain cleaner.

Not really sure I'm much help on any other way of disposal. Around here the soil is already alkaline and water comes out of the tap at about pH 8.5, so I don't need any more alkaline material. Spreading ashes on the driveway or sidewalk would just make an intolerable mess that would get tracked right back into the house/garage. I typically just keep my ashes in a steel garbage can and when I'm sure they are dead cold, I put a couple big scoops in the weekly trash. Or if I get fancy, extract the lye first and then send the remnants to the trash.

If you need the ash as a soil amendment, then mixing with a bit of water seems to be a good way to go. Given your acreage, possibly dig a small pit and fill it up?
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,010
Iowa
I dispose of hot ash on windy, dry days in my remote/isolated firepit. We took a steel rim from out back of a tractor dealership and torched the center out. Set the rim in place years ago and couldn't be happier. Sit around it with friends and family burning off shorts/uglies etc. from spring to fall.
When we are burning in the stove and the normal outdoor ash disposal/spreading in the yard or rock drive is questionable due to dry ground conditions or higher winds we dump the stove ash in the ring/pit. Works well.
I do try to refrain from dumping in the ring if the winds are truly out of control. Safety first:cool:
 

mikey

Member
Dec 4, 2013
119
rhode island
I have a small yard that is mostly flower gardens, I have used cans to cool them as others do but I can only use a small amount as ash in my garden as it is so fine that it it makes the soil heavy, if you have acres of land to spread it on it should not be a problem, but spread it thin otherwise it will creat a moisture barrier, you can also put it in a yard waste bag once it cools and put it with your yard waste if you have that option where you live.
 

bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
829
Utah, NJ
My ash is usually cold. i pull the ash pan take it outside in both lawn and garden areas and launch it up into the wind. Spreads it out pretty well most times. Just keep away from acid loving plants like blueberries. And keep doing it in different spots to keep it light coverage.
 

mikey

Member
Dec 4, 2013
119
rhode island
My ash is usually cold. i pull the ash pan take it outside in both lawn and garden areas and launch it up into the wind. Spreads it out pretty well most times. Just keep away from acid loving plants like blueberries. And keep doing it in different spots to keep it light coverage.
My understanding is that ashes are not alkaline so they should not bother your acid loving plants.
 

bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
829
Utah, NJ
My understanding is that ashes are not alkaline so they should not bother your acid loving plants.
Blueberries want 4.5-5.5 range so they almost always need extra acid unless u live in Maine. Wood ash is in 9 to 11 Ph range.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,167
Long Island NY
And use the rest to stuff voodoo dolls of your least favorite (keeping it nice here:) ) moderators
 

mikey

Member
Dec 4, 2013
119
rhode island
Blueberries want 4.5-5.5 range so they almost always need extra acid unless u live in Maine. Wood ash is in 9 to 11 Ph range.
I just had to look this up, it seems the man is messing with our brains some sites say 6.5 to 7 others say 9 to 11, wait what?
 

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,711
Midwest
Well, you can extract 'lye' from wood ash. Lye is mainly sodium hydroxide / potassium hydroxide. Those will easily hit double digits in pH. You can certainly get lye out of wood ash which is caustic enough to 'burn'. (Don't ask me how I know this!) But overall, the ash is very alkaline, so I'd say pH 9-11 is not far off the mark.
 
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coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,589
NE PA
I just had to look this up, it seems the man is messing with our brains some sites say 6.5 to 7 others say 9 to 11, wait what?
Keep it away from acid loving plants. Pine trees shed needles that break down to make acidic soil to prevent other plants from growing near them. Keep it away from pines, rhododendron, azalea. It is like lime or potash, use on grass where moss is found, an indication of acidic soil. Leaves break down making acidic soil, so that is a good place to use it where leaves are piled to break down. For plants, it causes them to flower and reproduce. Remembering when making compost, greens are nitrogen to grow green, browns are potassium to grow roots, potash, or ash stimulates flowering and reproduction. Keep the pile damp in the shade, turn it for oxygen, and the chemical reaction between browns and greens will break it down readily. Not much ash is needed.

After cucumbers flower and give the first harvest, rake and water it into the ground around them and they will flower and give a second yield quickly. Other plants are the same, but the second yield of most are not as good as the first, growing huge quickly without flavor if not picked young. So it is better to pull up bean plants after the first yield and replant for a second, or third if far enough south for a longer growing season.