Soil is composed of sand, silt, and organic matter, which is decomposed animal and plant tissues. However, whatever type you have, a better garden starts with better soil. Wakefield BioChar improves the health of any soil so that you can have beautiful plants and a bountiful garden with less work. Our plant-based, all-natural soil conditioner is made entirely from recycled wood that keeps your soil healthier year after year.
If you’re curious about the exact composition of your soil and the type of amendment or conditioner that would be the most beneficial, you can perform two simple tests:
- Jar Test. Place sifted soil into a jar along with water and dish soap. After shaking the mixture vigorously, allow it to settle over the next 48 to 72 hours. The different components of the soil should become evident as they separate.
- Feel Test. Extract a soil sample about four inches beneath the surface and remove any rocks. Add water until it achieves a putty-like consistency, then form it into a ball. Squeeze the ball until it pushes through the space between your thumb and index finger. Some soil types will create a ribbon-like shape, while others will crumble.
After you have determined the specific composition of your garden, the next step is to learn how to make the most of your soil. Amendments are essential, as they can remedy specific issues while ensuring nutrients remain accessible to your plants. The decision to buy biochar will positively impact your garden or your grounds –because our products will boost the health of all types.
Challenges and Strengths of Common Soil Types
All soils are made of some combination of organic matter and rock particles. The size of the particles creates different textures. Further, each type has unique characteristics, including benefits and drawbacks, and they are as follows:
Sandy soil facilitates good oxygen flow over root systems thanks to its gritty texture. It is also lightweight, making it easy to work with. Because it is fast-draining, you don’t need to worry about plants becoming oversaturated after watering, which can increase the risk of disease and fungal growth.
However, speedy drainage is also a detriment. As water flows out of the soil, so do essential nutrients. Without these nutrients, plants cannot thrive. In addition, during times of the year when the temperature is hotter, water can rapidly drain and leave roots starved for moisture.
Clay is dense and ideal for retaining nutrients and moisture. However, while nutrient and moisture retention are essential, so is adequate airflow. Clay tends to become compacted, which leads to poor aeration. Denser soils like clay can trap water around plant roots and lead to the growth of damaging fungi.
Silty and Loamy Soils
Soils described as silty and loamy bridge the gap between sandy and clay soils. Often described as feeling soapy, silty soils are light and gritty, with efficient drainage. While nutrient-rich, the swift drainage can result in losing nutrients necessary for your plants.
A uniform composition of clay, sand, and silt characterizes loamy soil types. This balanced composition offers a good mix of nutrients and healthy drainage. Keep in mind that not all loamy soils are evenly balanced. An increase in one characteristic, such as clay, can cause some of the same issues noted above.
How Biochar Can Help With Any Soil Type
No matter the type of soil, the application of biochar can have a positive impact because it is capable of addressing multiple issues, including the following:
- Improved Water Retention. Biochar can be used to boost water retention in sandy soil. Biochar is quite porous, so that it can absorb and hold water efficiently. When it comes to fast-draining sandy soils, the ability to retain water offsets issues with rapid drainage.
- Enhanced Aeration and Reduced Compaction. Biochar significantly improves dense clay by increasing soil porosity–the flow of air and water over plant roots. It works like aeration, poking holes in the ground to remedy compaction. Biochar is less dense than clay particles, which allows it to amend the overall structure and texture.
- Improved Nutrient Availability. In addition to improving water retention, biochar also absorbs nutrients and retains them, and is beneficial for all types. In addition, when combined with organic compost, biochar infuses the soil with rich nutrients.
- Stimulation of Beneficial Microbes: Some studies suggest that biochar can stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These microbes form symbiotic relationships with plants, enhancing nutrient uptake and overall plant health.
Environmental Benefits of Biochar
Biochar, consisting primarily of carbon, results from heating biomass at a high temperature in an oxygen-free environment, called pyrolysis. Using it has a favorable impact on the environment because each pound of biochar eliminates two pounds of carbon dioxide, helping to slow climate change.
Biochar, which makes soil significantly more fertile and productive, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which are harmful to the environment. For example, hazardous chemicals flow out of the soil and often contaminate the groundwater.
Our Products Can Fulfill Your Unique Landscaping Needs
At Wakefield BioChar, we are dedicated to making the world a greener place thanks to our all-natural soil amendments. Please contact us today to learn more about biochar and how it can benefit your soil type. Better Soil. Better World.