Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers

Citrus => Citrus General Discussion => Topic started by: SeaWalnut on October 08, 2019, 04:38:49 PM

Title: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on October 08, 2019, 04:38:49 PM
I found this link about the benefits of using charcoal for citrus trees.https://www.wakefieldbiochar.com/biochar-beats-citrus-greening-disease-and-improves-productivity/ (https://www.wakefieldbiochar.com/biochar-beats-citrus-greening-disease-and-improves-productivity/)

Only 2-5 % charcoal is enough they say and i think it should be washed well first to remove the ash.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: will2358 on October 12, 2019, 01:31:19 PM
Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on October 12, 2019, 01:35:18 PM
Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

Lots of people are using it.See this thread and at the first post there is a link with a documenfary about Terra Preta ( means black soil) .
http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=31671.msg363512#msg363512 (http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=31671.msg363512#msg363512)
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on October 12, 2019, 01:37:43 PM
In every case you need to "load" the charcoal with nutritions. If not it will reduce nutritions and harm any plant.
I tested some potted Citrus with a Terra Preta mix with very high percentage of charcoal. Plants stopped to grow. Even at the end of the season no new leave showed up.
There are several plants which don`t like to grow in Terra Preta. If Citrus is one of them I can`t tell.
More probably you need to find the right percentage of charcoal by testing.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: pinkturtle on October 12, 2019, 01:44:03 PM
In the old day, famers burned the land before planting crops.  I guess this is why, Charcoal can provide a lot of nutrient to the crop.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on October 12, 2019, 01:56:48 PM
it is more the ash that provides the nutrients. Charcoal is a huge sponge and will absorb anything until it is loaded.
Growing plants with fresh charcoal will not benefit the plants.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on October 12, 2019, 02:02:09 PM
I saw a series of tests on the web, can`t find it now.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Bomand on October 12, 2019, 02:22:42 PM
In truth charcoal is a detriment to citrus growing. It is a hungry substance that soaks up nutrients. It takes nitrogen to make charcoal degrade. Charcoal can become acidic too. I have read the dissertations on its use and I steer clear of it. Before I knew better I tried several containers with lime and various seedlings and.......all treated the same the pots with charcoal came up lacking and I repotted minus the charcoal.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on October 12, 2019, 02:30:31 PM
Before charcoal can be used it must soak in nutrients for a longer time. If not it will be a detriment to any plant.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on October 12, 2019, 03:05:12 PM
Before charcoal can be used it must soak in nutrients for a longer time. If not it will be a detriment to any plant.
No ,its not detrimental to any plant.Charcoal its inert,doeant decompose too easy and doesnt decompose by bacteria.
I use fresh charcoal on hundreds of trees in my orchard and i do add only nitrogen right before i use it.
The reason why your citrus struggled with charcoal its not because of the charcoal itself but because of the ash.
Charcoal is not ash.
Ash its alkaline and your citrus want acidic soil not alkaline so in order to use charcoal for citrus or otther acid loving plants you have to wash it  and make sure has as little ash as possible.
Also use max 8 percent charcoal for citrus.For my orchard trees i use 25 percent but because charcoal contains somme ash  ,for citrus you have to use less.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on October 12, 2019, 03:07:39 PM
I saw a series of tests on the web, can`t find it now.
see in my original message a link where it says to use 2-5% charcoal for citrus.You said you used a lot wich is thats why your plants didnt grow- your fault.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Bomand on October 12, 2019, 03:30:25 PM
Well I am convinced that charcoal is deyrimental to citrus by my own experience and therefore choose not to use it. Others can form their own opinions and opt to not use it or modify their use of it.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on October 12, 2019, 03:34:18 PM
You said you used a lot wich is thats why your plants didnt grow- your fault.
That`s what I intended to say  I tested it with an higher percentage and it failed so it might be helpful for others to know. But it is not to show that it is wrong at all. It`s not a blame game. :)
It is fine that others say what percentage is right, my intention was to test "what is wrong" or if there is another "right".
I am interested in Terra Preta but I am open to the idea that it might not work for everything as well. So I test it by myself.


Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Walt on October 13, 2019, 03:19:39 PM
In such discussions, remember that we have many different soils to start with.
I am looking into using charcoal in my potting mix.  And I am looking into a local factory that made the "cinders" for cinder blocks.  They used to give away any that got soil mixed in.  This material is actually clay with organic matter mixed in.  The firing burns out the organic matter, leaving pores in the fired clay.  I used to grow bonsai in it, without additives except fertilizer. 
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: dlhvac on October 14, 2019, 07:09:39 PM
Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

Bio char is a little different than charcoal the oxygen is removed from biochar when making it and I have used ashes and added ammonium sulfate to bring ph down look up utube video green dreams Pete Kanaris he shows how to put it in a container that is sealed so you get pure https://youtu.be/3rDk2SPEhZU
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on October 14, 2019, 10:46:56 PM
Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

Bio char is a little different than charcoal the oxygen is removed from biochar when making it and I have used ashes and added ammonium sulfate to bring ph down look up utube video green dreams Pete Kanaris he shows how to put it in a container that is sealed so you get pure https://youtu.be/3rDk2SPEhZU
He makes charcoal free from ash wich is alkaline.
I prefer to make a fire and when the flames are off and only the red coals remain ,i estinguish it with water= charcoal that has soome ash soaked in it wich is beneficial except it can raise the soil ph a little .
Biochar is just charcoal that has been colonised by bacteria and fungi.
Any charcoal that is put in the soil becomes ,,biochar,, and if its soaked in nutrients becomes colonised by bacteria and fungi faster.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 09, 2019, 08:24:13 PM
Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

In Thailand the nurseries grow tree's in pure charcoal dust.....made from rice or cocohusk charcoal....works very well but you have to water every day.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 10, 2019, 04:11:28 PM
Thailand has a tropical climate and peat moss is expensive there. Charcoal and a rice rice hulls in cold climates start to form mold and other dangerous pathogens that will suffocate the roots especially wet autumn/winter.

Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

In Thailand the nurseries grow tree's in pure charcoal dust.....made from rice or cocohusk charcoal....works very well but you have to water every day.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 12, 2019, 03:32:29 AM
Thailand has a tropical climate and pear moss is expensive there. Charcoal and a rice rice hulls in cold climates start to form mold and other dangerous pathogens that will suffocate the roots especially wet autumn/winter.

Has anyone ever used the charcoal to grow your plants. It sounds very interesting.

In Thailand the nurseries grow tree's in pure charcoal dust.....made from rice or cocohusk charcoal....works very well but you have to water every day.

A very big bag of peat moss from Denmark costs 4-500 baht....15us$....not that expensive but yes a big bag cocohusk and so is cheaper...Very big bag of new zealand pinebark fines is also 500...If you know where to buy it is not so expensive.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on November 12, 2019, 04:55:33 AM
Charcoal doesnt mold because its almost an inert material.
It doesnt break down by fungi like plant matter or wood and  last thousands of years.
Also ,to grow plants in charcoal only doesnt seem to be a good idea because charcoal has somme ash in it and that makes a high ph medium.
If you plant an acid loving plant like citrus in only charcoal ,it will die fast.
In the article from the first message they talk about 5 % charcoal into the soil mix.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on November 12, 2019, 06:08:07 AM

Also ,to grow plants in charcoal only doesnt seem to be a good idea because ...


but they do, as @sunny has published it. Shouldn't the question be how they do it?
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 12, 2019, 09:58:40 AM

Also ,to grow plants in charcoal only doesnt seem to be a good idea because ...


but they do, as @sunny has published it. Shouldn't the question be how they do it?

Almost half the tree's that i buy are grown in pure charcoal dust.....and i'm not going to argue about it i know what i see.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: mikkel on November 12, 2019, 10:19:25 AM
Almost half the tree's that i buy are grown in pure charcoal dust.....and i'm not going to argue about it i know what i see.
Just to be sure. I hope you didn`t misunderstood my post. I am interested in it and I want to know about it.
My post was a reply toSeaWalnut.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Millet on November 12, 2019, 11:36:29 AM
In this thread and in may others threads one frequently reads that citrus are acid loving plants.  Citrus like a pH of 6.5 which is as close to being neutral (pH 7) as one can get.  Acid plants, such as blueberries, are acid loving plants, and enjoy a pH of 3. 
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 12, 2019, 04:03:10 PM
In this thread and in may others threads one frequently reads that citrus are acid loving plants.  Citrus like a pH of 6.5 which is as close to being neutral (pH 7) as one can get.  Acid plants, such as blueberries, are acid loving plants, and enjoy a pH of 3.

I guess many people here have hard water in which a soil mix of pH 6.5 will turn to 7 in few months.
I start with a ph 6 so it gives me more time like a year to reach 7, then I try to bring it down. Salt accumulation is the biggest enemy especially for PT rootstock.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 12, 2019, 04:08:44 PM


A very big bag of peat moss from Denmark costs 4-500 baht....15us$....not that expensive but yes a big bag cocohusk and so is cheaper...Very big bag of new zealand pinebark fines is also 500...If you know where to buy it is not so expensive.

I was comparing the prices with Europe. I buy a good quality German made 200 liters ballot peat for 450 baht/$US 14. One can find 300L for the same price of lower quality. Coconut is more expensive here  ;D
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on November 12, 2019, 06:10:14 PM
Fresh charcoal has a ph @ 8-9.Thats because of the ash content and thats why they add only 5 percent charcoal to the soil mix.
5 percent by volume not by weight since the char is soo light.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 12, 2019, 09:25:53 PM
Fresh charcoal has a ph @ 8-9.Thats because of the ash content and thats why they add only 5 percent charcoal to the soil mix.
5 percent by volume not by weight since the char is soo light.

Last year i soaked about 100 litre charcoal chunks for bbq in woodvinegar...i spread them all over the garden, but now a year later it's hard to find the chunks...i don't know where they are...but it was a lot. I read somewhere that it's good to add this to the soil.

Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 12, 2019, 09:29:56 PM
In this thread and in may others threads one frequently reads that citrus are acid loving plants.  Citrus like a pH of 6.5 which is as close to being neutral (pH 7) as one can get.  Acid plants, such as blueberries, are acid loving plants, and enjoy a pH of 3.

I sure believe you Millet but when i google for citrus soil ph i get this as first reply:

The optimum pH level for citrus trees is between 5.5 and 6.5, but many areas have alkaline soils with a soil pH above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies that stunt the trees' growth.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/ph-level-very-high-citrus-trees-88015.html
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: SeaWalnut on November 12, 2019, 10:07:20 PM
Fresh charcoal has a ph @ 8-9.Thats because of the ash content and thats why they add only 5 percent charcoal to the soil mix.
5 percent by volume not by weight since the char is soo light.

Last year i soaked about 100 litre charcoal chunks for bbq in woodvinegar...i spread them all over the garden, but now a year later it's hard to find the chunks...i don't know where they are...but it was a lot. I read somewhere that it's good to add this to the soil.
If you soaked the charcoal in wood vinnegar then thats why it dissapeared.
It reacted with the wood vinegar and probably got oxidised into CO2.
In that case you use both ,charcoal and wood vinegar for nothing as they cancel each otthers beneficial propertyes.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Millet on November 12, 2019, 10:18:43 PM
Sunny, the article says "....a soil above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies"  That all depends on how high the pH is above a pH of 7 the tree is growing in.  Also problems can occur when pH levels goes to far below 6.5.  But back to my statement.  A pH of 6.5 is really not an acid soil, it is almost neutral.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 22, 2019, 03:13:56 AM

(https://i.postimg.cc/4nDxpLMQ/pomello.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/4nDxpLMQ)

Today i bought 4 pomello tree's, 2 white, 1 red, 1 pink.

The left 2 are for sure in 100% charcoal powder...the right one maybe as well, i have to unpack them first to be 100% sure..

Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 22, 2019, 03:17:49 AM
Sunny, the article says "....a soil above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies"  That all depends on how high the pH is above a pH of 7 the tree is growing in.  Also problems can occur when pH levels goes to far below 6.5.  But back to my statement.  A pH of 6.5 is really not an acid soil, it is almost neutral.

OK thanks Millet.

But if charcoal has the ph of above 7 it is base (according to seawalnut) , the tree's all look fine though...
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 22, 2019, 06:43:07 PM
Sunny, the article says "....a soil above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies"  That all depends on how high the pH is above a pH of 7 the tree is growing in.  Also problems can occur when pH levels goes to far below 6.5.  But back to my statement.  A pH of 6.5 is really not an acid soil, it is almost neutral.

OK thanks Millet.

But if charcoal has the ph of above 7 it is base (according to seawalnut) , the tree's all look fine though...

Sunny, I tested the charcoal you have in Thailand, I honestly don't like it for plants. In fact I like more that red soil you have which is fast draining.
What you have there that I found interesting and good are rice hulls.

There are rootstocks for alkaline soils like above 7.5 for your climate.
I wonder what rootstock do those pomellos have?
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 22, 2019, 08:18:04 PM
Sunny, the article says "....a soil above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies"  That all depends on how high the pH is above a pH of 7 the tree is growing in.  Also problems can occur when pH levels goes to far below 6.5.  But back to my statement.  A pH of 6.5 is really not an acid soil, it is almost neutral.

OK thanks Millet.

But if charcoal has the ph of above 7 it is base (according to seawalnut) , the tree's all look fine though...

Sunny, I tested the charcoal you have in Thailand, I honestly don't like it for plants. In fact I like more that red soil you have which is fast draining.
What you have there that I found interesting and good are rice hulls.

There are rootstocks for alkaline soils like above 7.5 for your climate.
I wonder what rootstock do those pomellos have?

I don't know.

I don't use this pure charcoal but the nurseries do and it works.

These pomelo's will be dekapons soon that's why i bought them.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 22, 2019, 08:57:35 PM

(https://i.postimg.cc/4nDxpLMQ/pomello.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/4nDxpLMQ)

Today i bought 4 pomello tree's, 2 white, 1 red, 1 pink.

The left 2 are for sure in 100% charcoal powder...the right one maybe as well, i have to unpack them first to be 100% sure..

The upper one is with rice hulls. I guess charcoal works well in high humidity, draining fast.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Millet on November 22, 2019, 09:29:00 PM
I have been hearing a lot about the use of rice hulls in general nursery culture of bedded plants.  I am very interested in experimenting with rice hulls in the cultivation of citrus trees.  Doing tests such as the length of time before the hulls begin to deteriorate, root zone aeration, etc.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 22, 2019, 10:00:16 PM
I have been hearing a lot about the use of rice hulls in general nursery culture of bedded plants.  I am very interested in experimenting with rice hulls in the cultivation of citrus trees.  Test such as the length of time before the hulls begin to deteriorate, root zone aeration, etc.

1 year ago i mixed 2 big bags of rice hulls in the raised beds...it's all gone already...

Oh and here the humidity is around 60, not so high. But i don't know where my new pomelo tree's were grown, it might be in the south where the humidity is high.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 23, 2019, 02:52:40 AM
Sunny, the article says "....a soil above 7.0, which can cause nutritional deficiencies"  That all depends on how high the pH is above a pH of 7 the tree is growing in.  Also problems can occur when pH levels goes to far below 6.5.  But back to my statement.  A pH of 6.5 is really not an acid soil, it is almost neutral.

OK thanks Millet.

But if charcoal has the ph of above 7 it is base (according to seawalnut) , the tree's all look fine though...

Sunny, I tested the charcoal you have in Thailand, I honestly don't like it for plants. In fact I like more that red soil you have which is fast draining.
What you have there that I found interesting and good are rice hulls.

There are rootstocks for alkaline soils like above 7.5 for your climate.
I wonder what rootstock do those pomellos have?

As i wrote before, more than half of the fruit tree's in nurseries are grown in pure charcoal. So they all must have rootstocks which can live in high ph?

I just bought pomelo but next time i can make a pic of other fruittree's in the shops....I guess this charcoal was made from cocohusks because it is as fine as powder and charcoal from ricehusks is more course. But those nurseries just use anything they have around and is cheap, clay mixed with ricehusks or whatever they have. I have never seen their tree's in real potting soil which is sure available.

Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 23, 2019, 06:07:44 PM
As i wrote before, more than half of the fruit tree's in nurseries are grown in pure charcoal. So they all must have rootstocks which can live in high ph?

I just bought pomelo but next time i can make a pic of other fruittree's in the shops....I guess this charcoal was made from cocohusks because it is as fine as powder and charcoal from ricehusks is more course. But those nurseries just use anything they have around and is cheap, clay mixed with ricehusks or whatever they have. I have never seen their tree's in real potting soil which is sure available.

From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.

On the side note, unfortunately almost all nurseries I've seen, have "California red scale" (Aonidiella aurantii) which is so difficult to kill in hot weather with all the systemic insecticides. In cold weather is not a problem to get rid of it.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 23, 2019, 07:27:41 PM
As i wrote before, more than half of the fruit tree's in nurseries are grown in pure charcoal. So they all must have rootstocks which can live in high ph?

I just bought pomelo but next time i can make a pic of other fruittree's in the shops....I guess this charcoal was made from cocohusks because it is as fine as powder and charcoal from ricehusks is more course. But those nurseries just use anything they have around and is cheap, clay mixed with ricehusks or whatever they have. I have never seen their tree's in real potting soil which is sure available.




From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.

On the side note, unfortunately almost all nurseries I've seen, have "California red scale" (Aonidiella aurantii) which is so difficult to kill in hot weather with all the systemic insecticides. In cold weather is not a problem to get rid of it.

Here the citrus are all grafted and they all have leafworms...But slow release fertilizers can stop that...new growth always has the HLB insects on it. I hope it's too warm here to get HLB infected...

I haven't seen that red scale but maybe i don't know what it looks like.

Grafting citrus is not easy, i have a low rate of success..
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: Ilya11 on November 24, 2019, 04:28:43 AM

From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.
Limes are very sensitive to high pH.
I think that under high temperatures and abundant rain of tropics  ash  is rapidly removed from the charcoal.
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 24, 2019, 06:33:24 AM

From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.
Limes are very sensitive to high pH.
I think that under high temperatures and abundant rain of tropics  ash  is rapidly removed from the charcoal.

I repotted my new pomelo's and 3 out of 4 were in pure charcoal.

Next time i'm in that wholesale nursery i'll check the soil of the limes....
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 24, 2019, 05:32:34 PM

From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.
Limes are very sensitive to high pH.
I think that under high temperatures and abundant rain of tropics  ash  is rapidly removed from the charcoal.

"The Key lime is well adapted to a variety of soils. Seedling
and air-layer-propagated trees are well suited to the rocky,
calcareous soils of the Florida Keys" University of Florida

"In South Florida, Persian limes are usually propagated by air layering because they fruit very early on shallow soils with high calcareous content "

Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 24, 2019, 05:40:31 PM

From what I have seen there, I checked many nurseries from south to north, most of the citrus is propagated from air-layering, especially limes, which are resistant to high calcareous soil.
Limes are very sensitive to high pH.
I think that under high temperatures and abundant rain of tropics  ash  is rapidly removed from the charcoal.

I repotted my new pomelo's and 3 out of 4 were in pure charcoal.

Next time i'm in that wholesale nursery i'll check the soil of the limes....

"Most soils in Northeast Thailand are sandy and acidic (pH 4.0 in CaCl2), with high rate of drainage."

Perhaps that's why they use rice hulls charcoal over there to lower the pH.

But as I recall I measured the pH in plastic bags in a Thai nursery and it was quite acidic pH 5-6 and it was with charcoal.

https://swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/hlb/database/pdf/00000372.pdf (https://swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/hlb/database/pdf/00000372.pdf)
Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: lebmung on November 24, 2019, 05:41:53 PM

I haven't seen that red scale but maybe i don't know what it looks like.

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Title: Re: Charcoal for citrus
Post by: sunny on November 24, 2019, 09:33:51 PM

I haven't seen that red scale but maybe i don't know what it looks like.


(https://bugguide.net/images/cache/40F/QM0/40FQM0YQE01R0QDRQQ3RMQJRKQORXQBR70FQ90FQHQWRI09RG0FQM0VRMQS0G09RSQH070FQX0DQRQ3QRQ9RM0DQ70OQ.jpg)
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I guess our limes also will be grafted on pomelo rootstock but i don't know. Nobody asks those questions here.

Red scale i don't have on my citrus, but the bought ones all have leafworms. Maybe they even have HLB, not sure....also my dekopons don't color totally, only where the sun hits them and one even is getting brown now on the colored spot..it's soft, smells great but still green except one spot.

I don't have a ph metre so can't tell the value of my soil. Other pomelo's that i bought grow on chunks of cocohusk.