Mark Highland, president of The Organic Mechanics Soil Company, says production nurseries should consider biochar because it lets them use less water and less fertilizer to achieve the same quality plant.
Mark Crawford owns Loch Laurel Nursery in Valdosta, Ga. He specializes in camellias, a notoriously slow-growing shrub, and he’s used biochar two different ways in his nursery.
Applying raw uninoculated biochar to a media will result in poor plant growth at first, thereby lengthening bench/production time, as the biochar will adsorb nutrients from the media, essentially “Stealing” nutrients from the plant.
Look to the United States Biochar Initiative and International Biochar Initiative, both of whom are developing standards.
Highland’s company provides biochar in both forms, pre-inoculated and ready to incorporate, and raw biochar for those brave souls that want to do their own research and inoculation procedures.
“Improved nutrient management in potting media is a unique benefit that biochar can offer,” Hunt says.
“Biochar can offer water holding capacity, so too can peat moss or coco coir. Biochar can offer drainage and aeration, so too can perlite or cinders. But in a competition for nutrient management, biochar is a clear winner.”