Lauren Selph, Tarleton State University

Feeding Better Biochar to Bermuda Grass

Abstract: Biochar physical and chemical properties are advertised to enhance soil properties and plant growth. Enriching biochar can further enhance its benefits. We utilized biochar from cellulosic (woody) and manure (dairy) feedstocks produced at similar pyrolysis temperatures. Biochar was added at 2% and 4% by weight of the soil. Soil analysis included pH, electrical conductivity, available water holding capacity, cation exchange capacity, extractable cations, and nutrient availability. Cynodon dactylon growth was tracked by number of nodes, plant height, leaf count and tiller count, as well as final biomass. We hypothesized a forage growth increase with biochar amendment and further improvement with enrichment. Manure biochar treatments produced significantly greater forage biomass than cellulosic treatments. Interval-enriching soil with biochar is a value-added treatment, enhancing nutrient exchange in the soil and increasing forage growth. Manure biochar has definitive advantages over cellulosic biochar when applied as a soil amendment.

Presentation Author(s):
Lauren E. Selph*, Donald G. McGahan, Eunsung Kan, and James P. Muir

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