Clay soil is challenging because tightly packed particles provide little room for aeration and space for roots. However, you can treat clay soil with a premium biochar soil conditioner and compost as an amendment. It is a plant-based, all-natural soil conditioner made entirely from recycled wood that keeps your garden or crops healthier year after year. Adding biochar and compost allows you to transform clay soils into productive soils where plants can flourish. Create a healthy lawn or garden or improve trees with Wakefield BioChar while doing less work.
What Causes Clay Soil?
Clay soil consists of minute particles, not bigger than 0.002mm, and is defined as containing at least 25 percent clay or more.
Characteristics of clay soils include:
- Ability to hold more water
- Poor drainage
- Extreme density
Biochar in clay soils lessens density and allows it to drain more quickly. It improves aeration and leads to greater productivity. Here’s a tip: Avoid walking on wet clay soil, and do not work in it when wet. When wet clay suffers damage, it becomes more prone to compaction or puddling.
How Clay Soil Affects Plant Growth
Clay soil does have advantages. It holds water better than other types. Crops and plants hold up better under drought conditions. On the downside, roots are more prone to rotting after heavy rains. Poor drainage is a common issue.
In winter, clay soils are cold and wet. In the heat of summer, it bakes dry. You might see cracks in the surface. These extremes affect plant growth. Because clay holds water so well, it is among the last types to warm up for spring planting. There is a shorter window for planting, limited to late spring and early summer. While early vegetables are out, clay soils may produce abundant main crops for later cultivation.
Due to its density, it can hinder root growth. Plants requiring good drainage may not flourish in clay soils that have not been amended. Overall, it is easiest to grow trees and shrubs than other plants that need frequent sowing or dividing. However, adding biochar can change that.
Beneficial microbes, healthy bacteria, and worms are seldom found in this environment. However, it tends to be nutrient-rich, especially when adding soil amendments.
How to Identify Clay Soil
If your soil becomes messy when wet and sticks to everything, you may be dealing with clay. Pick up a wet soil sample to feel it. Clay soils are sticky and are easy to roll into a ball. Unlike other types, it will retain its shape and has different colors, depending on the minerals involved. While red clay is the most identifiable, brown and white clays are also common.
How Do You Amend Clay Soil?
Adding a Wakefield BioChar soil amendment helps improve various clay soil problems, including:
- Compaction–Biochar breaks down compaction, allowing plant roots better access to nutrients. Soil becomes more workable.
- Lack of microbial activity–Biochar increases microbial abundance in soil by changing pH and boosting soil carbon content.
- Soil aeration–Biochar improves soil aeration, making clay soil more suitable for planting.
What is Biochar?
Exactly what is biochar, and how does it work? It is produced by pyrolysis, the process of heating biomass at high temperatures in an oxygen-free environment.
Terra Preta, or Black Earth of the Amazon Basin, was created by indigenous people more than a millennium ago. That same biochar is still enriching the soil. When applying it, you are not just improving your garden or crops for the short term. The improvement lasts for generations.
Finally, global warming is primarily caused by the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Biochar sequesters carbon in the soil while restoring quality.
How Biochar Improves Soil Quality
Biochar treats multiple soil conditions, and incorporating it into almost any type of soil leads to improvements. For instance, biochar has the ability to make clay soils drain more quickly while slowing down sandy soil drainage. A Rice University and Colorado College study confirmed this; light and porous biochar alters water flow to improve sand and clay.
Learn More From Wakefield Biochar
At Wakefield Biochar, we believe better soils make a better world. Our biochar is derived from virgin wood, the tree scraps from paper mills. Our products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which ensures wood comes from “responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.”
We can help you improve the health of your soil, no matter the type, with our all-natural, certified organic soil conditioner. Increase crop yields and grow healthier plants with less work. View our full selection of biochar soil health products.