Can Charcoal Ashes From Grill Be Used Around Plants?

Filed Under: Fertilizing · Keywords: Ashes, Charcoal, Grill, Around, Plants, Ferilizer · 6473 Views

Are there any benefits to putting the ashes from a charcoal grill around plants? Just curious before we dispose of it.

Thank you,
Jennifer Farley

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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Wood ashes can be a good source of potassium for plants, which helps them to grow. When I was a kid we'd take the ashes from our fireplace and dump them in our huge vegetable garden, then tilling them in good before planting the spring garden. We only used wood in the fireplace so that was okay. But, as John mentioned, if charcoal was treated with any chemicals or petroleum substances it could harm plants and maybe even kill them. So, unless you know for sure that the charcoal was made from wood with no additives I would not recommend using them as fertilizer on plants. It's always better to be safe than sorry.


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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Jennifer-This is a great question. Unfortunately it would take many pages to try and answer and still wouldn't know the real truths. As far as I know, no one has really documented the fact that using Bar-B-Q Charcoal Briquets have harmed their plants. Some say they have seen benefits of using this ash in their gardens. Others say that these briquettes may be bad because they are treated with petro-chemical products to get them to light and burn more easily. No one really seems to know how much residue after burning may be left in the ashes.

Ash from burning wood has been proven for thousands of years as being beneficial in building fertile soils. Terra preta is a highly fertile soil also know as 'Black Soil', 'Amazonian dark earth' or 'Indian black earth'. This ancient soil was made up of high concentrations of charcoal, organic matter such as plant residues, animal feces, fish and animal bones and other materials. Charcoal added to soils makes the soil less pron to nutrient leaching which is a major problem in most agricultural areas and rain forests. Evidently the charcoal also helps to hold moisture, but not to the point that the soils stay saturated. These soils were created by humans thousands of years ago, supposedly around 450 BC and are still stable and regenerates itself to this day. Farmers in other countries seek it for use and for sale as valuable a compost.

As you can see ash from burning wood definitely has benefits in adding to soil. Many of our Bar-B-Q briquets are made up of wood material, but have added chemical products that may or may not be harmful to plant life. There are also some products that say they are 100 per cent hardwood without any petroleum based chemicals. Some of these brands are, "Lazzari", "Holland", "Cowboy", "Royal Oak", "Maple Leaf", "Nature Glo", "Wildfire", and "Kroger". Ash from wood fires can be added to soil or compost piles to bring down their acicity, but you wouldn't want to use them if harmful chemicals are still present. Using too much ash in the soil or compost can also make the soil to alkaline. I also found that some of the Charcoal briquettes are being manufactured from matured coconut shells. Coconut charcoal briquettes are supposedly 100 % eco friendly fuel, but possibly have no use as a benefitial additive to the soil. I guess before deciding to try the ash around the garden it would be wise to read the packages ingredients first. Myself as one who likes to use natural or organic products in my gardens as much as possible I would not use the ash from my Bar-B-Q. Unless you know they are 100 per cent wood based I would not use this ash in the garden or compost piles.

Of course this answer is only my opinion. Hopefully others may have some additional information that may help answer your question and possibly change mine.


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