Biochar Saves Water While Plants Thrive

by / 10 Comments / 2253 View / April 3, 2015


City workers applied biochar at the planting of the Golden Anniversary Oak at a ceremony in front of City Hall last June.

by Alexa Cajthaml, CLU student

What are the benefits of Biochar?

  • Reduces water usage by 50% due to its porous properties.
  • Crop yields are healthier and larger when biochar is used.

What is biochar?
Biochar is a porous charcoal. It is made through a process called pyrolysis by heating organic biomass materials, such as wood or leaves, with little to no oxygen. Biochar is used in gardens, yards, and landscapes to improve soil and reduce water usage.

How does Biochar work?
Biochar’s pores allow it to retain water like a sponge. Its porous state also retains nutrients. Many biochar brands that are available for consumers to buy are pre-infused with nutrients, which is why biochar plants are reportedly larger and healthier. Because biochar retains both water and nutrients, it has an evergreen effect. Over time, biochar enriched soil will become more fertile.

What is Biochar’s history?
Biochar has been around for thousands of years! The earliest discovery was in the Brazilian Amazon around 400 B.C. Amazonians burned biomass to make charcoal, which they then implemented into their soil. This charcoal (also known as biochar) was able to make their awful rainforest soil usable. Although the Spanish expedition in the mid 1500s left many natives dead from disease, their biochar-enriched soil is still fertile today.

Why should I buy Biochar now?
Our climate is changing, especially here in California. Biochar will combat our current, record-breaking drought and save you money on water! Biochar will also combat global warming by capturing carbon and decreasing chemical emissions. Now is the time to take CHARge of our community.

Where can I buy biochar?
Art of Hydro: 5740 Corsa Avenue, #102, Westlake Village, CA 91362;, (818) 865-2227
Blue Sky Biochar: brings biochar to your home! Contact: Michael Wittman, CEO (818) 599-9119

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a special promotions campaign during the month of April by a CLU marketing class.

10 Comment

  1. I’ve been using something like Biochar for years. Mine is white, very porous, absorbs water and holds it in my pots or ground for 2 weeks. I also save rainwater with a rainchain; still have the balance of 20 gal left from our last rain. That is what I use with a watering can to water my potted plants and vegetables! It can be done! and…………..I pray for rain.

  2. BioChar is used on the Manteca Unified School District’s K-12 farm. Pacific Biochar donated biochar so that the University of California at Merced can study the scientific benefits while the Kids use it to grow food for the cafeteria and learn to farm healthy food for California using smart, more attractive environmental management techniques.
    . This would not have been possible without the donation of the biochar by Pacific Biochar. They stepped forward because no one had the money to put up for that, even with the weight of the science and agriculture need for saving water in the State of CA. at the time. Please let me know what you think about biochar and if you want a quote please give me a call / email. Jeff can be reached at email .

  3. The actual address is to Art of Hydro is

    5740 Corsa Ave #102
    Westlake Village, CA 91362

  4. […] Biochar Saves Water While Plants Thrive […]

  5. […] other measures had you considered or have you implemented, such as incorporating the use of Biochar, a Greywater System, automatic/programmable watering system, […]

  6. Biochar is an unnecessary soil amendment which doesn’t save and probably increases water use. When soil moisture is high, plants transpire more water in what is called luxury consumption. Additionally landscapes do not produce desirable crops so there is no need to increase production of what is merely grass clippings and yard waste. Don’t waste money on false solutions in our drought. Panacea merchants will be marketing their bogus products. Reduce water use by irrigating less and keep landscapes slightly stressed to limit transpiration.

  7. Biochar is not saving 50% water. What a unscientific claim. Going of a testimony of course. BioChar is simply a carbon source. A good one at that but think about that claim. It doesn’t change the DNA of a plant. Generally, these amendments are unlikely to save water in the sense that they do not alter the water demand of a landscape or turf planting; they might increase soil water holding capacity and enable longer intervals between irrigation days, but they will not significantly influence plant water use rates as these are dependent on weather factors and plant physiology. Their ability to increase soil water holding capacity is dependent the rate or concentration added an the chemical and physical properties of the material. My guess is that some of the added water they hold would not be available to plants. The most likely situation these materials could save water is if a site is being overwatered or if irrigation is too intense on a given day where these materials could then hold water that would otherwise be lost to deep percolation. How much of this “saved” water is used by plants is another question. In a nut shell you can’t reduce your irrigation by 50% and expect plants to survive. Increasing water holding capacity and then releasing it back to the plant is not water savings. Furthermore what percent of that help water is available? Check with your farm adviser or the university extension. If it sounds too good it is!

  8. Dr Sprinky I just read your comment and I 100% concur. Remember the soil polymer craze? No peer reviewed data ever to support claims. Water saving products are coming out of the wood work.

  9. […] exhibitors providing tips and products to help families “Go Green”. Residents learned about biochar, permaculture and composting at the free workshops that were […]

  10. […] will be free workshops on biochar, compost and sustainable soil for those who do their own gardening or who would like to know how […]

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