If your land lies along a fresh body of water, your soil is probably silty. While there are many agricultural benefits, there are issues that can affect plant growth and soil fertility. A soil amendment such as biochar can improve the structure of silty soil, leading to healthier plants and a more bountiful harvest.
Wakefield’s biochar is a plant-based, all-natural soil conditioner made entirely from recycled wood that improves the productivity of any soil. In addition, we are fully committed to environmental preservation.
What is Biochar?
Biochar is created via pyrolysis, heating organic biomass in an oxygen-free environment at high temperatures. The term “biochar” has only been around in scientific papers since the 1990s, but the benefits of using it have been known and used by native peoples living along the Amazon River for centuries.
A significant body of recent evidence states that adding biochar will improve soil health. Moreover, while it provides excellent benefits as a soil amendment, it is also a tool for combating climate change. The biochar manufacturing process reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by converting decomposing biomass to a fixed carbon that is sequestered into the ground.
Understanding Silty Soil Conditions
Silty soil is the result of water and ice or glaciers eroding rock. As the minute fragments move with flowing water, they get even smaller as they scrape along the stream beds. Eventually, they become silt particles.
Soil texture refers to how soil retains air and water. The size of silty soil particles falls between sand and clay. Individual particles are hard to discern with the naked eye but must be under .005 centimeters or .002 inches. Soil with more than 80 percent silt content is considered silty. Remember, it is also a mix of clay and sand.
Silt can fill in lakes and wetlands when it settles in still water. Flooding causes it to collect along riverbanks. When rivers empty water and sediment into another body of water, deltas form. The Mississippi Delta consists largely of silty soil and is home to some of the nation’s most fertile farmland.
Positive characteristics of silty soil include good water retention and aeration. It contains many minerals and retains nutrients, another plus for healthy plant growth. It’s an easy soil to work with when gardening.
When wet, it is slippery. Unlike clay, it does not clump. Unlike sand, it does not crumble easily. When dry, silty soil is soft and fluffy.
Challenges of Silty Soil
For all its advantages, silty soil does pose challenges. These include:
- Prone to erosion–Aggregate stability is a key part of soil health. Because it contains little organic matter, its aggregates are unstable and susceptible to erosion.
- Compaction–This soil type is vulnerable to compaction due to its fine particle size.
- Drainage concerns–Since silty soil retains moisture easily, drainage is often an issue. Compaction is a contributing factor.
- Nutrient imbalances–Silt combines with all types of organic material in riverine conditions, contributing to its exceptional fertility. However, this is not the case with the average garden or agricultural field. A soil amendment can correct specific nutrient imbalances while allowing plants to absorb them more effectively.
Amending Silty Soil
Biochar is a sustainable solution for improving silty soil. As a soil amendment, it increases nutrient absorption, leading to healthier plants and boosting crop yields. It encourages soil microbial activities, which improves nutrient cycling and availability. Biochar also protects these beneficial microbes from the effects of various pollutants in the soil.
Biochar helps alleviate compaction by enhancing soil particle aggregation and supporting soil stability. In addition, it can filter pollutants, including heavy metals and other contaminants.
Learn More from Wakefield BioChar
At Wakefield BioChar, our premium biochar helps increase water retention and boost microbial activity to provide more nutrients. Our compost and biochar with mycorrhizal fungi enhance seed germination and strengthen roots. Our premium compost enriches soil, aiding in water retention and disease reduction. Choose the right biochar for your soil’s needs.
Better Soil. Better World.