Biochar improves soil health, but does it have a downside, such as burning plants? Biochar is not a fertilizer and will not burn plants.
Biochar is a soil amendment. It optimizes the nitrogen in the soil. That means it also plays a role in reducing global warming by removing carbon from the atmosphere. It’s the tremendous amount of carbon going into the atmosphere that is accelerating global warming. By using Biochar in your garden, you are doing your part in saving the planet.
Better soil means a better world. Learn more about how Biochar works. At Wakefield, we use pyrolysis to heat the biomass to create Biochar.
What Is Biochar?
Biochar is the term for organic materials pyrolyzed under high temperatures without oxygen. Biochar is not synonymous with charcoal, although it does resemble it. Because virtually any organic material can become biochar, knowing the original material is critical. Aside from plants and wood materials, livestock manure is another candidate for this carbonization. What all of these biochar properties have in common is that they are rich in carbon and take a long time to decompose.
Ancient civilizations were well aware of biochar’s positive impacts on soils. As long as 8,000 years ago, it was used in the Amazon Basin to transform poor soils lacking organic materials into soils of great fertility.
Soil Amendment vs. Fertilizer
As a soil amendment, Biochar improves its texture, retains moisture and nutrients and provides a structure for microbial activity to thrive. Biochar will reduce fertilizer waste. A key difference with fertilizer is that the primary purpose of fertilizer is to boost nutrients.
Biochar provides a host of benefits for the gardener. The many advantages of Biochar in the garden include:
- Boosts seed germination
- Composting acceleration
- Greater resistance to root and leaf diseases
- Filters soil impurities
- Healthier soil
- Reduces fertilizer waste
- Maximized crop yield
- Neutralizes soil pH
- Resists drought
In addition, the benefits of Biochar are extremely long-lasting. It can improve soil texture for decades, if not centuries.
In sandy soils, Biochar improves water-holding capacity in soils that drain too quickly and provides a fine habitat for beneficial soil microbes. In urban areas, where soils have long been contaminated by chemicals, oils, and other potential toxins of modern life, Biochar can assist with soil remediation and rehabilitation.
Are There Downsides to BioChar?
When used properly, there are few, if any, downsides to Biochar. It is crucial not to overdo Biochar application and ensure you are placing the right amount on your soil. Biochar should not be considered a soil substitute.
As noted, BioChar is most useful when combined with organic material such as compost.
Do you seek a lovely landscape that improves the environment? For more information about Biochar research, contact Wakefield. Wakefield seeks carbon solutions for a better world.