Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2013
Publication Date: 6/14/2013
Citation: Vaughn, S.F., Peterson, S.C. 2013. Comparison of pelletized biochar derived from two source materials as replacements for peat in potting substrates. Meeting Abstract. xx.
Technical Abstract: 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. Results indicate that these biochars would be suitable replacements for peat in soilless substrates.