What’s the most environmentally-friendly way to enhance soil prior to landscaping? The answer is biochar. Biochar is a soil amendment, not a fertilizer. It increases soil moisture and possesses the ability to mitigate soil toxicity. It does so by absorbing pollutants as well as by allowing soils to break toxins down.
In general, biochar consists of biomass, such as wood, leaves, or manure, heated during a process called pyrolysis. This involves heating the biomass in high-temperature and low-oxygen conditions. Wakefield’s biochar is made solely from wood biomass and is FSC and OMRI-certified.
In this era of global warming, using biochar for your landscaping aids in carbon sequestration. Less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Learn more below about how to use biochar and what it can do to improve the health and appearance of your property.
Biochar for Landscaping
Landscape architects and planners will love biochar’s longevity is a huge advantage when it comes to landscaping. Compost decomposes. Biochar does not. This form of carbon can last literally thousands of years. Biochar improves soil during the entire period and reduces the need for fertilizer. Any fertilizer used for your landscaping, whether organic or chemical, stays in the soil far longer. Unlike other soil amendments, biochar resists degradation.
Think of biochar as a sponge. That’s how it holds water, allowing plant roots easy accessibility. Over time, you’ll need to water your planting less as biochar helps retain soil moisture. There’s less runoff and erosion. Soil hardening is lessened, if not alleviated.
Biochar increases microbial soil activity and nutrient retention. More microbial soil activity translates into more carbon storage in soil.
For landscaping purposes, apply biochar to the surface of your planting bed. If your landscape includes woodlands, apply biochar directly or use a broadcasting application.
Biochar for Lawns
Biochar boosts lawn health whether the lawn is established or newly planted.
For established lawns, the addition of biochar lessens the burden of heavy compaction. Older lawns, subject to years of such compaction due to heavy lawn equipment, foot traffic, excessive rainfall, and the like, lose the ability to absorb water and oxygen effectively. Biochar restores absorption capacity and helps prevent runoff and lawn thatching.
The soil of new lawns in developments often suffers from topsoil removal during home construction. What’s left behind is the lower-quality subsoil. Adding biochar to this soil before new lawn establishments adds necessary carbon. It also promotes aeration in poor soils, including those containing a great deal of clay or sand. If adding new topsoil, just mix in biochar with your applications.
Biochar stimulates plant growth. When used in agriculture, it increases crop yield. The effect on lawn grass is similar. Your lawn becomes healthier and lusher with biochar use.
Biochar is easy to use. Simply mix it with compost, and either till it into your soil or use it as a top dressing. You don’t need a lot of biochar to generate results. The beauty of biochar is that even small amounts can improve soil a great deal. Adding more than necessary won’t harm your soils but also won’t increase biochar’s effectiveness.