Turning over a new leaf
In the UK, nearly one in three new trees planted in urban environments dies within its first year; a figure translates into a £1.26m waste of taxpayer money over the last five years. Is there a better way of doing things?
In Stockholm, years of soil compaction left the urban tree population in decline. Stockholm’s Road Traffic Administration appointed tree specialist Björn Embren to head up the various tree-saving experiments that would lead to an unexpected discovery – biochar.
Björn had an innovative approach to structuring the soil around the root system of the trees. He used rocks to prevent soil compaction and added Carbon Gold’s enriched biochar to the soil that filled the voids.
Biochar is a high carbon form of charcoal that has a structure like a honey comb. This porous structure gives it an enormous surface area that provides the perfect environment for valuable microorganisms that improve soil health, meaning greater nourishment for trees and plants.
Since 2009, at least 2,000 trees in Stockholm have been treated with enriched biochar. Although they aren’t yet fully grown, the results are impressive. Perhaps it’s time for the UK to take a leaf out of Stockholm’s book.
‘There’s no point spending loads on planting equipment and set-up if you’re ignoring the quality of the soil; spending money now to ensure soil quality saves much more money in the long-term.’ Björn Embren.