Journal article

Biochar made from low density wood has greater plant available water than biochar made from high density wood

Joerg Werdin, Tim D Fletcher, John P Rayner, Nicholas SG Williams, Claire Farrell

The Science of The Total Environment | ELSEVIER | Published : 2020


Soil water limitations often restrict plant growth in unirrigated agricultural, forestry and urban systems. Biochar amendment to soils can increase water retention, but not all of this additional water is necessarily available to plants. Differences in the effectiveness of biochar in ameliorating soil water limitations may be a result of differences in feedstock cell structure. Previous research has shown that feedstock cell structure influences the pore structure of biochar and consequently the volume available for water storage. The availability of this water for plant uptake will be determined by biochar pore diameters, given its role in determining capillary forces which plants must over..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council - Melbourne Water

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP30100731) supported by Melbourne Water and the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP) group of local governments. Joerg Werdin was supported by a Research Training Program Scholarship and a Graduate Research Studentship. We thank Robert Evans for his help with the wood analysis, Adrian Morphett and Moana Quiatol from Earth Systems for their help producing the biochar, Richard Conn and Petra Katona for their help with the experiment. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and constructive criticism that helped to improve the quality of our manuscript.