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Coal as a top dressing?

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Yesterday I was looking at a garden that had been top dressed for the winter with coal. I think the idea was that the blackness would help with raising the temperature of the soil. Any thoughts on what the long term effects would be? A good idea?

It doesn't seem sensible to me.  Coal contains quite a lot of toxic ingredients.  Remember that coal tar and other distillates are the basis of creosote which is really nasty stuff. Obviously as a mineral the bulk of the material is made up of carbon compounds often containing benzene rings and other polyaromatic compounds. My hunch is that this is a bad idea but an interesting question and I'll read further comments with interest.  I'm assuming it would be crushed to some degree.


i agree with Beersmith, but would be interested to hear what it looked like?
My instinct is that it would not look nice!

Tee Gee:
Ditto to the above!

I recall when we had coal/ coke fired heating where I would form footpaths with the resulting ash.

Apart from it giving a good well drained surface to walk on, it it was generally weed free!

I put this down to the toxic chemicals in the ash.

Now I realise that that a chemical reaction will have taken place during the firing process meaning the coal might release more or less toxins as it weathers compared to ash, but to quote an old saying there is no smoke without fire (pardon the pun) my point is… weeds.

Meaning as weeds are plants we do not want what, will happen to the plants we do want?

A notice said it was a ton of delivered coal. It looked the same as you would expect to use in a fireplace over winter. It was unused and not broken into very small pieces.


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