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Garden tip: Use wood ash sparingly

Wood ash is a valuable source of potassium for plants, but it should be used with care. Excessive amounts will raise pH levels and inhibit beneficial microbial action, so avoid adding it to the compost pile or seed starting mixes. Store it dry – and fully extinguished – in a metal can with a lid, and spread it on lawns and garden beds in the spring, no more than two pounds per 100 square feet. Avoid adding it around acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons and hollies.

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