This ash is “softwood ash”. What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood? The difference in terminology is determined by how the plant reproduces. Hardwood is not indicatively a harder wood, nor is softwood indicatively a softer wood. For example, balsa wood is one of the lightest woods there is, but it’s considered a hardwood, and Douglas fir (a softwood) is denser than many common hardwoods.
In general, most hardwood ashes have a higher potassium content than most softwoods. Which means that softwood ash probably has less potassium in it.
What can this wood ash be used for?
– I primarily use it for making rawhides. The purpose of the ash is to preserve the hide from rotting while the pores release the hair. A 1lb bag should be enough for a full deer rawhide, for example.
– Wood ash is also a fabulous soil amender, pest repellent, and PH balancer in the garden. Softwood ash can be handy here as well, when higher levels of potassium are not as desired in the soil.
– Lye is a by-product of wood ash that can be made at home, and is a handy thing to have around when making soaps and cleaners. Lye is dangerous, yes, but it is a highly concentrated byproduct of ash. Pure wood ash is not harsh in its whole, natural state. You can make lye from softwood just as you would hardwood ash.
– We’ve also used our wood ash to make morel spore slurries. We can inoculate our forests with morels and keep their mycelium happy by feeding them more raw wood ash each season.
– Chickens (and other poultry) LOVE bathing in wood ash! It really seems to help them stay clean and mite-free.
– Use the ash as a non-flammable ultra-lightweight medium in incense bowls, mini zen gardens, and other functional decor.
– Use as a light-weight traction and ice-melting agent in slick winter conditions, it works great and is non-toxic!
– And more!