Soil amendment

Bear Kaufmann. Initially posted April 7, 2008. Updated August 5, 2008.

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Charcoal as Soil Conditioner: Studies in the humid Tropics
Christoph Steiner1, W. G. Teixeira2, J. Lehmann3and W. Zech1, U Georgia TP 2004

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Learning to use wood charcoal in farming at a Northwestern Washington native plant nursery.
Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Washington, Febuary 20, 2007
My motivation for preparing this post is to be able to use this motivate discussion of charcoal as a soil additive. Trying to do this work at a very busy nursery that is perhaps pushing their production factor too high (over 80%) is rather frustrating as experiments have gotten over ruled by planning changes, wiped out by harvest before I can read the data and the conditions set up for the experiment just do not work. However, I have been encouraged however and I am now using hardwood charcoal as a carrier for natural inocculum as a matter of routine.
Fourth Corner Nurseries is a wholesale supplier of native plant species, located on 77 acres in the coastal lowlands of northwestern Washington, USA. With approximately 40 acres under cultivation, we produce two/three million direct-seeded, field-grown, bare-root native plants annually. Our principal crop is individually seed-sourced, bare-root deciduous trees and shrubs, herbaceous perennials, grasses and emergent species such as sedges, cattails and rushes for environmental restoration purposes. Our mission is to sustainably grow plants while supporting workers and their families who depend on the farm for their economic subsistence. Use of surplus biomass from our willow coppice field and other materials is our alternative energy vision.
Aerial view of our farm

Aerial View of Fourth Corner Nurseries

Aerial View of Fourth Corner Nurseries
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Where can you get Cheap Natural Fertilizers and Soil Amendments?
David Hall, iVillage GardenWeb

One of our composting experts and friends on this site, David Hall (DcHall_San_Antonio), recently gave a great list of some of the major benefits from soil high in organic matter:
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Charcoal as Soil Conditioner Studies in the humid Tropics
Christoph Steiner1, W. G. Teixeira2, J. Lehmann3and W. Zech1

1Institute of Soil Science, University of Bayreuth, Germany
2EmbrapaAmazoniaOcidental, Manaus, Brazil
3 Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, USA

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Use of Murayoshi Bincho Charcoal for Flowerbeds and Fields
Murayoshi "Bincho" (hard white) charcoal, product promotion and recommendations for use, Okinawa, Japan

Murayoshi Bincho Products

The History of Bincho Charcoal

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Black Carbon from Rice Residues as Soil Amendment and for Carbon Sequestration
Stephan M. Haefele 1, J.K. Ladha 1, and Yothin Konboon 2.
(1) International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, 4031 Laguna, Philippines, (2) Ubon Rice Research Center, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
18th World Congress of Soil Science, July 9-15, 2006 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

On highly weathered soils in tropical and subtropical climates, maintenance of soil organic matter is essential to sustain system productivity and avoid rapid soil degradation. But climatic conditions as well as soil characteristics favor the rapid decomposition of organic matter. However, several recent studies indicated that black carbon, the product of incomplete combustion of organic material, could combine characteristics highly beneficial for soil nutrient dynamics with high stability against chemical and microbial breakdown. Lasting soil amelioration by incorporation of black carbon from wooden plants was proposed based on the beneficial evidence from

Black Carbon from Rice Residues as Soil Amendment and for Carbon Sequestration
Haefele, SM, Konboon, Y, Knoblauch, C, Koyama, S, Gummert, M, Ladha, JK
Cornell University Poster Presented to International Rice Research Institute, September 14 2006

On highly weathered soils in tropical and subtropical climates, maintenance of soil organic matter is essential to sustain system productivity and avoid rapid soil degradation. But climatic conditions as well as soil characteristics favor the rapid decomposition of organic matter. However, several recent studies indicated that black carbon, the product of incomplete combustion of organic material, could combine characteristics highly beneficial for soil nutrient dynamics with high stability against chemical and microbial breakdown.

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