ArboChar - Arboriculture and Biochar

Erin Rasmussen

MASS Laboratory has been working with Bartlet Tree Experts on an series of plot tests, and field tests to study the use of biochar in caring for trees, particularly urban street trees.

MASS Laboratory has a great description of the work here:
http://www.masslaboratory.org/arbochar---arboriculture-and-biochar.html

Projects will compare biochar to other nutrient amendments (fertilizer, biosolids, compost, mulch, compost tea) in greenhouse settings with tree seedlings, nursery settings with three to six year-old trees, and urban landscape settings with mature street trees. Improvements in soil quality are quantified by measuring soil physical, chemical, and biological properties (moisture, density, aggregate stability, pH, available macronutrients, microbial diversity, microbial biomass, C respiration, and N mineralization). Tree health is assessed with above- and belowground biomass measurements, leaf chlorophyll, and leaf C and N contents. Because biochar is a new urban soil amendment, application procedures are currently not available. The research will also identify appropriate application rates and procedures for urban tree management with biochar. The research will consider economic and social aspects of biochar as an urban tree care amendment compared to other current practices. The PI's on the ARBOCHAR project are B. Scharenbroch and K. Fite. The ARBOCHAR project is funded in part by a TREE Fund Hyland R. Johns Grant.