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Using Biochar in Urban Landcaping

After reading this article titled “Chicago landscapers turn to ancient Amazonian fertilizer,” I felt particularly inspired to talk about how important biochar is in urban landscapes. There are slew of benefits to having urban landscaping, but I am going to focus on water for this post.

As the article points out, carbon in the soil is essentially the bee’s knees – it makes the whole system tick (carbon being the currency of the soil). As the author points out: “Urban soils often lack carbon and struggle to sustain the diverse microbial communities that are essential to plant growth.”  As we give soil the carbon that it needs to hold nutrients and foster microbial communities, these sub-terrestrial compadres condition the soil and make it a more absorptive space. With towns and cities across the country struggling to handle storm water runoff in overwhelmed drainage systems (that drain to the city’s sewage system), the more water we can hold in the ground and not in our pipes, the better! The worms that make tiny holes in the soil, and the bacteria and fungi that increase the carbon content of the soil contribute a significant amount to the soil’s ability to hold water. Furthermore, roots increase the aeration and permeability of soil so when it rains, the water actually percolates into the soil rather than hitting the top and running off.

By adding biochar into soils, we increase every parameter of water retention in soil and let nature take care of the rain instead of our over-burdened sewage systems. Sounds pretty solid to me!

Be cool to the planet

Biochar Bob