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Title:Comparison of pelletized biochar derived from two source materials as replacements for peat in potting substrates
Author(s):Vaughn, Steve
sustainable agriculture
Abstract:Steve Vaughn - Plant Physiologist at the USDA-ARS in Peoria, IL. Soilless substrates are primarily used in the production of containerized greenhouse and nursery crops, with sphagnum peat moss being a primary constituent of most substrates. We are examining biochars for several horticultural applications, including as peat moss replacements. Biochar was prepared from pelletized wheat straw at our laboratory, while biochar produced from recycled wood pallets was obtained from Chip Energy, Goodfield, IL. Increasing levels of biochars (5, 10, and 15% v/v) had variable effects on substrate physical properties (pH, bulk density, air porosity, container capacity, and total porosity). Greenhouse experiments were conducted using tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) plants grown in 3.0-L pots. No differences were found in tomato dry weights after 4 weeks growth, but plant heights were greater in several biochar treatments. Marigold plants grown in 10% pelletized straw had greater dry weights than controls, and plants heights were greater than the control in all but the 5% wood biochar. These results indicate that both pelletized biochars would be suitable replacements for peat in soilless substrates.
Issue Date:2013-06-14
Series/Report:2013 Midwest Biochar Conference
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-05-07

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