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Biochar for Golf Greens and Garden Lawns

Tony Callaghan 21/05/2018

Biochar for Golf Greens and Garden Lawns

Enrich and Recover Golf and Garden Lawns

We have used SF60 super compost (a mix of activated biochar and humus) on our domestic garden lawn for a couple of years and have found it helps deepen the green colour, and it also seems to help prevent moss on our heavy clay lawn. It also helps with recovery of brown patches caused by pet poo/urine and over use of weedkiller!

You may also like our related blog – How to compost grass and make your own super compost (SF60).

Earlier this year, we had an enquiry from a golf course in Scotland for large quantity of biochar for use on the greens.

The opportunity

Green keeping is expensive and a highly-skilled task supported by professional courses and qualifications. Many golf greens are built from scratch to rigorous standards. The goal is to achieve the right combination of surface hardness/softness, speed of play, surface smoothness, resistance to wear and the desire to keep a perfect green open as long as possible – not quite “all weather” but as close as.  

The high percentage of sand used in the soil mix tends to lead to rapid fertiliser leaching and run off. Biochar offers the opportunity to improve greens; it holds nutrients, is porous and does not compact.

Although biochar can be applied as a top dressing, ideally you need to get the biochar down into the root zone. Here the microbes will inhabit the biochar and form symbiotic relationships with the roots – i.e. the microbes transfer nutrients to the roots and the roots in exchange transfer sugars (food energy) to the microbes.


How to get the biochar down to the root zone. Some green keepers have tried to brush it into the aeration drill holes made as a normal part of the early season preparation work. 

We had a call back in February from a green keeper in Scotland who had tried this, but the large lumps (mainly 25mm) supplied by a competitor just did not fall into the holes – they blocked them.


We have biochar for sale on our online store and suggested they try our new premium grade 0-2mm fine granule. We caught up with Graham recently to hear the application had worked. We are now looking forward to the end of season when we can review the overall benefits.

Next steps

Ideally we would like one of the big lawn testing facilities to test biochar and SF60. We will be working to reach out to the professional bodies and experts consultants such as:

  • SAPCA (Sport and Play Construction Association)
  • Institute of Groundsmanship

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