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Bulk Biochar Supply

Bulk Biochar Supply

Regular price $450.00 AUD
Regular price Sale price $450.00 AUD
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Wholesale Bulk Mallee Hardwood Biochar - Bulk Biochar Supply

(Cost + GST & Freight)

Cheapest high quality biochar on the market.

0-5mm

5-10mm

10-20mm

Get in touch for larger orders & shipping quote.

What is biochar?

Biochar is a fine-grained charcoal left behind after pyrolysis of crop residues, livestock manures, and other organic material used in alternative fuel production
(Figure 1). These alternative fuels, or biofuels, are produced by high temperature processing of organic materials in the absence of oxygen—a process known as pyrolysis. Biofuel researchers initially regarded biochar as nothing more than a waste product of pyrolysis. However, further investigation revealed some unique properties. For instance, biochar is so slow to decompose that scientists widely consider it to be a long-term repository for stored carbon. From a global standpoint, biochar’s ability to store rather than release carbon might be its single most important attribute. Properly “cooked” biochars do not release carbon

 

dioxide into the atmosphere and their physical structure remains virtually intact. Their resistance to decomposition means that good biochars will not release carbon dioxide over the long term, either. Furthermore, biochars applied to wet soils like those found in rice paddies decrease methane and nitrous oxide production. Since, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are three of the most important greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, both biochar production and use may help slow this troubling phenomenon. Researchers have identified some potential uses for bio- char in addition to carbon storage. Biochar is similar to activated charcoal and has been used successfully to treat sewage and waste water. It is also exceptionally well suited for restoring degraded soils, such as those found near min- ing sites, because it tightly binds toxic heavy metals and neutralises unnaturally acidic soils.

How is biochar made?

    The best biochar consists of finely textured, porous particles made by using extremely high temperatures (at least 500°C) in the complete absence of oxygen (pyrolysis) as shown in Figure 2. During pyrolysis, organic matter breaks into fragments whose surfaces are covered with negatively charged chemical compounds. The hotter the temperature, the smaller and more porous the fragments become. These small, porous biochar particles have proportionally more surface area than large, solid particles. So slow-cooking at high temperatures (over 500°C) for several hours will produce a lightweight, fine-textured, negatively charged biochar. Do not be tempted by the numerous websites that offer “home recipes” for making biochar from yard waste. Proper pyrolysis is impossible to achieve at home since oxygen is present and temperatures are too low. Improper cooking also generates carbon dioxide and other pollutants. You are better off using pruning debris and other home-garden wastes in your compost pile or on top of your soil as a natural and sustainable organic mulch layer. Ideally, bio- char can be made commercially from excess crop residues, invasive plant species, such as kudzu and English ivy, and other organic materials that might otherwise end up in landfills. Production techniques influence biochar’s physical, chemi- cal, and biological properties, which in turn affect how it works in the soil. The science behind biochar is complex: there are many variables associated with both making and using biochar. First, a finished biochar is specific to the material that was burned to produce it. A biochar made from straw is different from one made from coconut husks, yard waste, or wooden pallets. Second, the range of temperatures and times used for cooking biochar produces biochars that are chemically and physically different from one another. The highest quality biochars are cooked for several hours at temperatures from 350°C to 700°C. Finally, the effectiveness of biochar is highly dependent on soil characteristics, such as texture, organic content, and mineral nutrient levels.

 

 

How does biochar work?

    Because biochar remains virtually intact for centuries, it can permanently change a soil’s character. For example, this porous material improves aeration of poorly drained or compacted soils, while increasing the water-holding capacity of fast-draining, sandy soils. The porous nature of biochar also provides a physical home for bacteria and fungi, including beneficial mycorrhizal species. Biochar’s negatively charged surface binds to positively charged chemicals, including hydrogen ions and many plant nutrients in the soil (Figure 3). This phenomenon has two effects on soil characteristics. First, binding the hydrogen ions raises the pH of the soil, making it increasingly alkaline. Second, soil nutrition is enhanced because biochar binds and retains nutrients that otherwise might leach out of the soil. Biochar can improve urban soils by tightly binding lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals found in urban soils, preventing their uptake by plants and soil life. As biochar attaches to heavy metals, it sheds other bound ions, many of them plant nutrients. This process of ion exchange contributes to increased levels of available nutrients for plant uptake.


How are soil organisms affected by biochar?

    Overall, biochar has a positive effect on beneficial soil microbes. The habitat it provides for fungi and bacteria also hides them from grazing protozoa, such as amoebas. Together with the biochar, these microscopic communities continue to change soil characteristics in positive ways. For instance, pathogenic bacterial populations decrease when biochar is added. This could be due to improved soil structure, or to competition from beneficial microbes housed in the biochar. Earthworm populations, however, often decline in biochar-amended soils, possibly due to pH changes or dehydration.

 

How is plant growth affected by biochar?

    As you might expect, the beneficial effects biochar has on the soil environment also translate into plant benefits. Crops grown in biochar-amended soil consistently show increased growth. This may be due to improved nutrient and water availability and an increased number of ben- eficial microbes. Other biochar benefits include improved drought tolerance and greater resistance to root and leaf diseases. Gardeners should be cautious when using biochar, however. Application of too much biochar can injure plants, possibly by increasing soil alkalinity past the plant’s tolerance level. Also, applying biochar to soils rich in organic matter can temporarily reduce nitrogen levels because increased microbial activity will compete with plants for this nutrient. There are good reasons to be excited about the possible benefits of biochar in home gardens. A solid body of research is available that describes the benefits of adding biochar to crops, soils, and soil microorganisms. 


Can we use biochars in our gardens?

    Currently there are only a handful of studies on biochar with direct relevance to home gardens and landscapes. So far, biochar appears to benefit soils where turf grasses and trees are planted. Turf grasses perform better in more alkaline soil conditions like those that biochar can create. Lawns with compacted, poorly drained soil benefit from the increased aeration and drainage that biochar can pro- vide. Both coniferous and broad-leaved trees have shown improved growth and disease resistance in soils amended with biochar. Biochar can also reduce the weight of plant- ing mixes used for container plants and green roof gardens. If you want to try biochar in your garden, be sure to use only a commercially produced biochar with well-defined characteristics. Be careful when applying biochar because improper application can create problems in your garden. For instance, adding too much biochar can injure beneficial soil organisms like earthworms, or reduce the effectiveness of soil-applied pesticides.


Benefits

Drawbacks

Best Use

Decreases soil bulk density

None

Compacted soils


Improves aeration

None

Heavy or compacted soils


Increases soil aggregation

None

Fine-textured soils


Increases soil sequestration of carbon

Can be washed out of saturated soils

All soils

Increases soil alkalinity

May injure acid-loving plants and earthworms

Soils used for alkaline-tolerant species, such as turf grasses

Increases cation exchange capacity (CEC)

None

Low nutrient and sandy soils

Binds salt

None

Soils contaminated with de-icing salts or exposed to tidal floods, or naturally salty soils

Binds nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, reducing their leaching

Not as effective on silty soils

Sandy and acidic soils


Binds organic material (OM)

None

Soils subjected to erosion or runoff


Binds and/or detoxifies heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and chromium

None

Acidic soils

Binds and sequesters organic contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

None

Application rates greater than 2% of soil volume

Binds and degrades pesticides

Soil-applied pesticides will be less effective

All soils

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O) from wet soils

None

Waterlogged soils, especially sandy types

Enhances fungal biodiversity, including mycorrhizal species

None

All soils

Increases availability of plant nutrients (N, P, K)

Levels of sodium can increase depending on biochar source

All soils

Decreases need for nitrogen fertilizers

None

All soils

Increases plant nutrient uptake and enhances plant growth

Less effective in OM-rich soils; use of excessive biochar in OM-rich soils can reduce growth

OM-poor soils and dry soils

Increases plant drought resistance

None when used appropriately



Increases plant disease resistance

None when used appropriately

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You will also want to monitor your plants in the first few months after applying biochar for signs of nitrogen deficiency. Overall leaf yel- lowing is an indicator of low nitrogen. Adding a nitrogen fertiliser can treat this temporary deficiency. Table 1 summarises the benefits and drawbacks of biochar, along with optimal conditions for use. This information may help you decide whether your garden and landscape soils might benefit from biochar additions.

Application Notes

There are so many varied possible uses for Pure Biosmoke, so when deciding on your trial parameters,
we recommend considering the following points :

• Pure Biosmoke has been using for a penetrant and improved plant uptake by reducing the volume of the existing (more expensive) chemical and replacing directly with Pure Biosmoke it can possibly improve the uptake and have better results than the existing chemical alone with the same or lower input cost


• Pure Biosmoke has been used successfully at more regular lower rates when used just as penetrant to help plant uptake when mixed with the dilution water of other chemicals for a minimal outlay.


• Pure Biosmoke used alone as a stimulant for seed germination has shown improved strike rate and time for varied species.


• Pure Biosmokeshows beneficial plant health at lower rates but at increased concentration can also show detrimental effects to the plant health.

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