Whether it’s your lawn, trees, shrubs, garden, or even house plants, use environmentally-friendly premium biochar to boost soil fertility and improve plant health.
Over many generations, biochar has been called by various names. It has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its ability to improve soil and reduce the impact of global warming.
But still, many people ask, “What is biochar?” Biochar is a soil amendment used since ancient times. Wakefield Biochar consists of woody material subjected to pyrolysis: the practice of breaking down the biomass by superheating it in the absence of oxygen.
In general, biochar can be made from any biomass. This includes:
- Agricultural waste
- Yard waste
- Municipal waste
This exposure to high temperatures destroys unwanted organic content and pathogens harmful to plants. The result, when applied to your garden, is enhanced soil structure, aeration, and fertility. Roots can better absorb nutrients, improving plant health, and plants become more resistant to disease.
Because the manufacturing process to make biochar sequesters carbon once biochar is added to the soil, you are helping the planet as well as your plants. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas driving climate change.
How to Get the Best Results
No matter the type of plant, biochar provides impressive benefits. Biochar works best when combined with organic soil media like compost, a process known as charging:
- Blend biochar with compost, worm castings, or healthy potting soil from 10% to 50% by volume. As an example, the Wakefield Compost and Biochar Blend is 20% biochar and 80% compost.
- Ideally, you will want approximately 10% of the plantable soil to be mixed with biochar.
- Let it “charge” for several days, if possible. Keep the soil moist, allowing water to get into the biochar. However, if you need to plant into biochar-amended soil right away, do not be discouraged.
Keep a close eye on the moisture level of the soil, and you should have great results. It is possible that your seeds and plantings will start slowly in the first week but will soon catch up, surpassing your expectations.
Transplanted young trees, especially the bare root variety, tend to suffer a high mortality rate. That’s especially true in an urban or suburban environment where soils are often of poor quality. You can protect your trees by combining fertilizer with biochar because it improves soil characteristics, directly affecting plantings.
Trees grown in soil with biochar added tend to have increased resistance to certain diseases and insects. They may grow faster as biochar increases soil pH, leading to a liming effect. Fruit trees may produce fruits earlier.
Another great advantage of biochar is that it stays in the soil for decades, if not centuries, after application. Overall, biochar creates a healthy soil environment leading to healthy root growth and stronger, healthier trees.
Biochar use for shrubs is similar to that of trees. Do you have an area of poor-quality soil on your property? Try using biochar for shrubs. According to the USDA, biochar is most effective with marginal soils with high acidity levels. As noted, biochar increases soil fertility by encouraging beneficial microbe activity.
Spring is the best time for adding biochar to your plantings as this is when roots are most able to take in added nutrients. However, you can add biochar around your shrubs at any time.
If you’re envisioning a lush, green lawn, biochar helps you reach your grass goals. Using biochar for lawns not only boosts soil fertility but also possesses water retention qualities. It’s important to note that in the days immediately following a biochar application to your lawn, you will want to make sure that the soil is well-watered.
However, once the biochar has been added to the soil and charged up, you should spend less time watering your lawn. Grasses become more drought-resistant. When your soils are healthy, you can use less fertilizer on your lawn.
Consider biochar whether your lawn is newly seeded or already established. Apply biochar every 3-5 weeks as a top dressing, preferably starting in spring. Every application improves your lawn permanently, as there is a cumulative effect.
Using biochar for house plants as a potting mix helps them thrive. Think of adding biochar to the potting mix as supercharging it. Substitute vermiculite, peat, or perlite with biochar as a substrate to reap the benefits. Vermiculite and peat both help retain water, while perlite aids in aeration and drainage facilitation. Biochar accomplishes both of these objectives.
For established plants, just topping the container soil with biochar helps prevent the soil from compressing. Using biochar for your house plants means you can water them less often. You should notice healthier, perkier house plants and outdoor container plants.
Using biochar for organic plants makes perfect sense since biochar itself is manufactured from organic material. Think of it as a boost to the natural availability of organic matter in the soil. It does not release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the sequestered carbon can remain in the soil for thousands of years.
Biochar does not add nutrients to the soil, per se. Instead, it boosts organic matter by improving the soil. The organic matter can then build up in this better soil. The nutrients already in the soil become more accessible to plants. Expect to find a better crop yield in your organic garden after using biochar.
Keep in mind that when organic material breaks down in the soil, it can cause issues. These include soil compaction, less water retention, and nutrient loss. Biochar does not break down in the soil. Its sponge-like qualities allow it to retain moisture and nutrients, keeping them available until they are necessary.
Maximize Your Plant’s Growing Potential
Wakefield Compost & Biochar is an all-natural, certified organic soil conditioner that improves the health of any soil for any type of plant. Use it indoors, outdoors, in a raised bed, in the yard, garden, golf course, pasture – anything that grows! We premix the blend so you can have bigger, better plants with less work.
Find out how your plants can reach their growth potential with our full selection of biochar soil health products!