Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Nick E. Christians


Sand-based turfgrass root-zones are limited in nutrient retention and water holding capacity. Peat moss is often used to offset these deficiencies, but peat moss is prone to decomposition. Biochar, a co-product of the fast pyrolysis process used to produce bio-oil, may have similar benefits as peat moss while being less prone to decomposition. In addition, because biochar is relatively stable over time, sand-based turfgrass ecosystems established with biochar may become a viable long term carbon sequestration vehicle. At field capacity, sand-based media containing 25% biochar retained 63 and 73% more water compared to media containing 5% biochar and a pure sand control, respectively. Sand media containing 25% biochar resulted in a saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) of 6.6 cm hr-1, whereas, 5% biochar media and pure sand resulted in Ksat of 55.9 and 84.8 cm hr-1, respectively. The rooting depth of bentgrass was reduced up to 46% at biochar concentrations greater than 10%. Leachate electroconductivity increased from 1.5 mmhos cm-2 to 3.4 mmhos cm-2 and dissolved total organic carbon increased from 20 ppm to 340 ppm as biochar concentrations increased from 0 to 25%. Leachate nitrate and ammonium concentrations decreased from 5 ppm to 0 ppm and 0.8 ppm to 0.2 ppm, respectively, as biochar concentrations increased. Soil phosphorus and potassium increased from 0 ppm to 118 ppm and 21 ppm to 892 ppm, respectively, as biochar concentrations increased.


Copyright Owner

Shane R. Brockhoff



Date Available


File Format


File Size

40 pages

Included in

Horticulture Commons