What you Need to Know About Cigar Ashes, and Effect in Plants
The question you raised was whether cigar ashes are suitable for plants. Why cigar ash in the first place? It contains some potassium, although admittedly not as much as many other sources of natural fertilizer. Some gardening experts believe the ash may only have a single percent of potassium.
That’s not enough for your houseplant to live off for the long-term. The ash could contain calcium, but regarding quantities, no one’s quite sure. The short and straightforward answer is no, but on the other hand, there are some beneficial uses as you’ll find out further in our discussion.
What are the cigar ashes?
You probably know that a cigar is mainly made up of tobacco leaves, yet they undergo a delicate procedure in which the leaves have to be fermented, bunched, rolled, and aged. Therefore you can safely conclude that the ashes are the waste products obtained after the cigar is smoked. It is most often discarded. However, new research has proven that the residual cigar ashes contain 57 to 70% of harmful components that make up the cigar.
Is there a difference between cigar ashes and wood ash?
Most people find these two to have a shared commonality trait, whereby they are both residue powders left after combustion. And while most people are more familiar, do they use ash as an organic fertilizer to enrich plants through its nutritive value as a source of minerals such as potassium?
You might vaguely assume that cigar ashes will hold the same value. However, there are some factors to be considered. Ranging from the type of plant and its optimal soil conditions to the compositing materials found in the cigar. You shall find a detailed explanation of all of that and much more in the text below.
Do cigar ashes affect the optimal pH values for a specific plant?
You probably know that the alteration of the soil PH and the absolute and relative quantities of calcium magnesium and potassium present in the soil often affect the amount of yield a farmer can get from the crops and plants he or she has planted.
Here are some reasons why cigar ash is harmful to your plant:
1. Soil PH level
You probably know that cigar ashes have a liming effect whereby they neutralize the acids in the soil, giving it a more alkaline nature. Thus on the application, the soil pH is increased. By altering the soil’s pH, the plants that can be grown in the ground will differ. You have probably noticed the distinct polarization that we have generated in the above argument by carefully analyzing the plants about actual produce. We can see the distinction clearly as such, Cucumber, Beans, Broccoli, Turnips, Squash, and Onions
2. The Tobacco Mosaic Virus
In 1889, Martinus Beijerinck, found that ‘tobacco mosaic disease’ was caused by a pathogen able to reproduce and multiply in the host cells of the plant. He called it ‘virus’ (from the Latin virus, meaning poison) to differentiate this form of the disease from those caused by bacteria
3. Cigar ash leads to losses.
TM is currently estimated at only 1% because resistant tobacco varieties are routinely grown. However, TMV affects other crops, and losses of up to 20% have been reported in tomatoes.
TMV can be a significant problem because, unlike most other viruses, it does not die when the host plant dies and can withstand high temperatures. Thus, the virus can survive on implements, trellis wires, stakes, greenhouse benches, containers, and contaminated clothing for many months.
Like humans and other animals, plants need sufficient nutrients to function and to grow. If the plant is deprived of these nutrients, it cannot go through the chemical processes related to its survival and growth. Cigars contain more than 4,000 different chemicals, including arsenic (used as rat poison), butane (lighter fluid), and formaldehyde (fluid used in embalming) whereby the ash tends to choke the plants due to the presence of these chemicals.
5. The cycle of Contamination.
Tobacco plants absorb heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium, and lead from soil and particularly from the fertilizers and pesticides used on tobacco plantations. These chemicals are stored in tobacco leaves and, therefore, become part of cigars
As well as directly damaging smokers’ health, the chemicals return to the soil as cigar ash, where they contribute to pollution and eventually pass into the food chain through the grass or crops that grow on the site where the ash fell.
6. Slowly Degrading Waste.
Most people assume that tobacco leaf and the paper in which it is rolled to create a cigar are biodegradable and soon rot away. That assumption is only partly correct. Metals leach from discarded ash at varying rates but then degrade very slowly and may remain for decades in soil, affecting the plants that grow there and animals that feed on them. Radioactivity from phosphates commonly used to fertilize tobacco crops may stay in the soil for years.
7. Toxic Ingredients.
Tobacco contains heavy metals and other chemicals, which can poison creatures that eat discarded tobacco cigar stubs. The toxic elements also leach into soil and water. The concentration of unwanted items alters the soil’s chemical balance and acidity, which affect the health of plants growing in the ground.
The most harmful ingredients in cigar ash include lead, nickel, titanium, and zinc, which are released rapidly into soil and water in steady concentrations; the ingredients barium, strontium, manganese, and iron wash out more gradually over weeks.
8. Abiotic stress factors.
Another critical factor you need to consider is the chemical composition of the cigar ashes, which hold the following important fact: The abiotic stress factor. Chemical toxicity is simply the introduction of heavy metals into the soil, which is essential for non-renewable resources but also responsible for the growth and survival of plants.
It stands to reason that the overall crop yield will be dependent on the nutrients in the soil. However, with the standard heavy metals present in the cigars and that will be later injected into the soil, you have a cause for concern.
9. Molecular Change.
Like humans and other animals, plant cells are made up of proteins, enzymes, and other components. Chemicals have an impact on the stability of these components, including plant DNA. The chemicals can break down molecular bonds, for instance, or cause mutations in the genetic material.
10. Decomposer Population.
Plants are aided in growth by various microorganisms. Scientists believe these microorganisms produce enzymes and hormones that encourage plant growth. The chemicals found in cigarettes and cigarette smoke can harm or kill these microorganisms.
If these microorganisms are reduced in number or are killed off altogether, the plant will not receive the enzymes and hormones that the organisms produce and thus won’t be able to grow as well. It is much like depriving a person of a vitamin pill.
11. Do not use cigar ash as a fertilizer
Some people accept the ashes of cigars could well be disposed of on the compost or as fertilizer. However, it is urgently recommended to consider this procedure well, because ash from the cigarette, which is distributed to the garden, you can never remove from there.
The cigar ash contains only minimal valuable nutrients. Only one percent of potassium is present in the ashes, which is not a useful fertilizer for a long time. In most cases, floors or loamy soils are heavily supplied with potassium. Also, the plants make the intake of other nutrients and water more difficult.
The Wider Picture
On the one hand, the tobacco industry brings employment to people in impoverished areas of the world and profits to the companies that employ them. However, the effect of cigar ash on the soil is a small part of a more comprehensive picture of soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. These long-term risks result in the clearing of forests to plant tobacco and the application of artificial fertilizers to make it grow.
What is cigar ash good for?
According to Gimodo, a team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that coating cigar ash in aluminum oxide makes for a highly active filter for removing arsenic from water. The secret is the highly porous nature of the ash, which makes it an ideal filter.
Cigar ashes can be okay for some plants, but with their low nutrient content (up to one percent of potassium), there are better sources of plant food. If you or someone who smoked didn’t burn through the cigar all the way, then the nicotine can prove dangerous to your plants as it does to us people. But you probably know that you can nourish your houseplants with more ingredients than you were aware (such as manure or human urine).
What do we Conclude?
To finalize this discussion, adding cigar ash to a plant’s soil is only useful if the cigar is completely burnt. Nico-tine in unburnt cigars poisons many plants. The old trick of keeping cut flowers fresh with aspirin in the water really works. All plants have their aspirin, and scientists now know it helps fight off disease.
Cigar ashes are not suitable for your plant. Because cigar waste is not biodegradable, ashes can hurt compost, especially in large quantities, and should not be added.
I highly recommend you using another substance for liming the soil or increasing specific nutrients. Now that you know the dangers cigar ashes hold, is the experimentation on your plant worth the risk.
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