There are many different types of grass. Can some or even all grass types benefit from wood ashes? In this post I'm going to discuss a which grass types can benefit from wood ashes.
Grass, just like any other plant growing in your yard, needs nutrients. Many of use would think that all grasses will grow in any kind of soil. Or, at least, all grasses grow in the same type of soil.
It is true that many grasses will tolerate a wide range of soil type. But there are some grasses that need their soil to be a particular way so they can grow.
Grasses that wood ashes are good for
The grasses listed in this section will generally benefit from wood ashes added to the soil. These grasses like alkaline soil. Wood ashes help to raise the pH in the soil because they are alkaline. When adding wood ashes to your soil for these grasses, check your soil's current pH to see how much it needs to be raised.
Don't add too much wood ash to your soil our your grass will suffer and possibly die.
Perennial Rye grass grows well in acidic to alkaline soil. The optimal pH for perennial rye grass is 5.5 to 7.5.
Fine Fescue grass does good in acidic and alkaline soil. For the best performance get the pH between 5.5 and 7.5 for fine fescue grass.
Tall Fescue grass also likes acidic and alkaline soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.
Bermuda grass likes acidic to neutral soil. The best soil pH for Bermuda grass is 6.5 to 7.0. Use wood ashes to bring the pH closer to neutral in very acidic soil.
St. Augustine grass likes acidic and alkaline soil. It is one of the most versatile grasses in terms of soil pH with a range of 5.0 to 8.5.
Grasses that wood ashes are not good for
The grasses listed below generally won't benefit from wood ashes added to the soil. This is because wood ashes added to most soils will make the soil to alkaline for these grasses. If the soil you are starting with is very acidic, then wood ashes may be beneficial in bringing the soil into optimum levels for these acidic loving grasses.
Bentgrass likes slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
Bluegrass likes acidic to neutral soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
Bahia grass grows will in acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6.5.
Centipede grass likes acidic soil between a pH of 5.0 and 6.0.
Zoysia grass likes acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
How to apply wood ashes to your grass
If you search you will find a varied range of how much wood ash to apply to your yard. The numbers range from 5 pounds to 25 pounds per 1000 square feet. These numbers are just a starting point. You really need to measure the pH of your soil and then add some wood ash to the soil. Once you have added wood ash, you need to test the soil again.
It's best to apply wood ashes to your soil in the fall. This will give the ashes enough time to become part of the soil. The nutrients added will combine with the soil well by the time spring arrives.
Dangers of wood ash for humans and pets
Wood ash is rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and carbon. These nutrients can be great for the life of your grass. Just like handling any fertilizer, you have to be careful with wood ashes.
You should always wear gloves, protective clothing, and safety glasses when you are handling wood ashes.
When water runs through wood ashes the resulting solution will contain lye. Lye is dangerous if touch or consumed. To help prevent the puddling of lye in your soil, mix your wood ashes will with the soil. Don't leave places for water to be able to pool in your yard. Also, puddling of water and ash, once dried, will leave high levels of salt. To much of these salts are not good for your grass.
Keep children and animals away from your soil and ash mixture for a few weeks. It's best if it rains a few times or you water the soil a few times.
Other natural fertilizers you can add to your grass
There are a lot of different natural things you can add to your grass' soil to get nutrients.
Banana peels are a great way to add potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium to your soil. Bananas have a pH just below 10 so they can raise the pH if used in large amounts.
Eggshells are mostly made up of calcium carbonate. Crush them and add them to your soil.
Add coffee grinds to your soil to make it more acidic.
Many of the weeds growing in your yard and garden can be used to fertilize your grass. You can compost them or soak them in water for several days. The weeds will provide a boost of nitrogen to your soil. You can also add some wood ash in your compost pile.
There are a myriad of other natural things you can add to your grass - molasses, seaweed, grass clippings, manure, and worm castings; just to name a few.
Wood ashes can be good for your grass, but in some cases it can be harmful. First, learn what type of grass you have in your yard. Once you know the type of grass, determine if what pH level is good for it. If your grass likes alkaline soil or your soil is to acidic, use wood ashes to make it a favorable environment for your grass to grow.