Benefits of Biochar

Benefits of Biochar

By Jim Hole

Bamboo Biochar? You’re probably wondering, ‘What the heck is bamboo biochar’?

Well, I’ll start with biochar. Biochar is plant fibre that has been heat treated but not burned. The heat treatment is called ‘pyrolysis’ which involves super heating the plant fibre—without a flame—and leaving behind just the black, carbon-fibre skeleton. If you think of a log from a fire pit, the gray-white ash is the combusted or burned fibre but the charred, deep-black portion of the log is more like biochar.

Here at Hole’s Greenhouses we carry Pure Life Carbon’s Absolute Carbon™: Premium Bamboo Biochar. Bamboo biochar is pyrolysis treated bamboo stems that are processed into a nice, very porous, biochar that is unsurpassed as the best quality biochar for homes and gardens.

So what does Biochar do? Here are a few of its wonderful properties:

  • Its porous carbon skeleton is great for holding plant nutrients and water

  • A layer of biochar on the surface of potting soil eliminates fungus gnats

  • Biochar looks great in pots and contrasts beautifully with flowers and foliage

  • Biochar tightly absorbs fluoride from tap water and prevents tip burn that is common on houseplants from fluoridated water

  • Biochar detoxifies soil and can be used to absorb and deactivate pesticides (fine biochar – called ‘activated charcoal’ - is used in personal protective equipment. i.e. gas masks).

  • Biochar can be added to detoxify garden soils in the event of a chemical spill

  • Biochar looks great in terrariums

  • Biochar is a ‘permanent’ potting because soil microbes won’t break it down. Essentially, biochar sequesters carbon in soils for thousands of years.

And if that is not enough, specific grades of biochar—approved and tested for human use—are an ingredient in teeth whitening formulations. Who knew?