We get excited about local Colorado companies doing anything technology oriented when it comes to soil. So I want to take a quick look at Cool Planet and later in the post offer more information about biochar what it is and why it could help promote soil health. And while we promote proven types of solutions for sustainability, we also have not found a product that works as well as deep root fertilization and winter watering to promote soil health for trees.
Could biochar provide increased moisture in the root zone?
Cool Planet is an agricultural technology company based in Colorado that developed an organic soil revitalization product, known as biochar, made from coconut shells and other bio-waste. They are now developing a new product from pine trees which is currently in test phase. The company is doing 120 trials on the efficacy of it’s products. They currently manufacture the product, called Cool Terra, in California.
Biochar is an emerging soil amendment category that is still not fully accepted by the commercial green industry due to past products that were promoted with wild claims and other snake-oil type claims. However, Cool Planet is taking an evidence based approach and has raised 20 million in funding to create a product that works and works consistently.
Biochar is currently being targeted to the ornamental industry, turf nurseries, sports field, golf courses, and agriculture.
So far high level customers such as municipal government have seen positive results as well as growth in vendor adoption such as agricultural retailers like Simplot.
Cool Terra, the soil technology
developed by Cool Planet differentiates from other similar products in that it provides improved porosity, consistent bulk density of product and uniform particle size. It’s designed to be effective for a wide-range of soils and provide a good habitat for plantation whether your soil is sand, sandy loan or clay.
What is biochar?
Biochar is left over carbon skeleton form biomass. It can be harvested from the waste created by bio fuel production and helps with seed germination and carbon sequestration. The downside of using biochar is phyto-toxicity, or staining of other plants or structure. The technologists at Cool Planet recommend a rate for the product of 2 to 5 %. This ensures stimulation of root tips.
Bio-char is a stable solid that provides a rich source of carbon and persists in the soil preventing leaching from decimating the soil content. Other brands include Wakefield which is billed as a soil conditioner. Most reviews are done as an A plant versus B plant test. Same species are placed side by side and one is used with the proper rate of the product and one is not.