Biochar can reduce tree stress from transplanting and drought, Bartlett trials find

Biochar, a charcoal-like substance created by pyrolysis (high-temperature, low-oxygen burning) of green waste, has potential to protect trees against stress, according to trials by Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory, part of Reading University.

These found that young horse chestnut trees replanted in poor clay soil showed higher leaf chlorophyll content and improved photosynthetic efficiency of up to 12.5 per cent over two growing seasons, with superior results from a more granular biochar compared a powdered form.

Further research recorded similar increases in chlorophyll leaf content of bare-rooted European beech transplants through addition of bamboo biochar or mixed woodchip biochar compared to controls.

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