Publications

Perspectives for the use of biochar in horticulture

Blok, C.; Regelink, I.C.; Hofland-Zijlstra, J.D.; Streminska, M.A.; Eveleens-Clark, B.A.; Bolhuis, P.R.

Summary

Biochars were produced using different production parameters and consequently measured in a rooting media laboratory and used as a constituent in potting soil mixes for 8 and 12 week growth experiments. The biochar feedstock influences the biochar’s eventual nutrient and salt content, the pH, the buffer capacity and the cation exchange capacity all of which can potentially hamper normal growth. It is indicated which materials may result in effective biochars regarding nutrient and salt content. A method to measure and compensate unwanted pHs is described and validated. The production parameters are shown to influence growth defining properties such as phytotoxicity, water behaviour and degradability. Finally growth experiments with mixes of biochar and other rooting media constituents were performed and used for further advice on compensating unwanted properties. In the experiments up to 20%-v/v biochar was used without adverse effects on production. De lab results indicate the maximum amounts could at least be 25%-v/v when mixing with rooting media constituents with sufficiently complementary properties. Porous biochars are shown to be able to host microbial life but to fully utilize this promising trait more rigorous pretreatment of the biochar particles are suggested.