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A fruit tree facebook page had some advice and need clarification

 
pollinator
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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Is this correct?  How does "Hot Soil" degrade carbon?

"Everyone promotes compost as a cure-all for most garden problems. It is a valuable material, but gardeners in hot southern soils, need to tailor our use to our conditions, not just blindly follow what northern growers do (and recommend).

Compost comes closest to being a cure-all in the North (USA), where it degrades slowly. In the South, it's a temporary stopgap, because the hot soil breaks it down rapidly - in effect, it combusts The carbon disappears into the atmosphere.

So compost has little long term effect on hot soils. Once the soils are depleted of carbon, it's very difficult to replenish them - UNLESS - one has learned a secret discovered by prehistoric Amazonians. That is terra preta, or bio-char. As you are composting, add finely crushed charcoal to the compost."

 
steward
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I think the part that's quoted and says

in effect, it combusts The carbon disappears into the atmosphere



can be confusing. Combust means to burn, be on fire. Combustion isn't happening in a compost pile. Other forms of chemistry are happening, and the carbon that is disappearing into the atmosphere is happening when that carbon is in a compound bound to other atoms, like CO2. The carbon in the CO2 can be captured and retained in the compost so it doesn't fly away. One way to do this is to add soil to a compost pile. Redhawk talks about this carbon sequestering in his awesome thread about compost here https://permies.com/t/98570/compost-don#812218
 
Dennis Bangham
pollinator
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That is what I was thinking.  Buried carbon does not burn off.  Our soil would be completely depleted of carbon if that was the case.  I thought the normal recommendation was to cover compost with wood chips anyway.  I do remember he mentioned a layering of compost, then soil and I think then wood chips.


 
gardener
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Yes I did recommend that method.  
I don't understand the "hot soils" reference. Hot soil to me would be soil that is highly contaminated with heavy metals and that is addressed with mycoremediation.

Wood chips are great for a covering layer but don't consider them a "cap" layer, all gasses will leak right through wood chips, no matter how thick a layer they comprise.
I like to use lots of wood chips when building a compost heap but I always use soil to cap any heap.
The cap layer doesn't need to be thick, just a couple of inches does a fine job, the chips that go over that cap are really there only to soften the blows from rain drops so the soil doesn't erode away.

I am currently building a heap with a base layer of 4 inches of wood chips, this has already been inoculated with fungi and a layer 8 inches thick of hog bedding (straw containing poop and pee from the hogs) and a similar layer of chicken coop bedding (straw, poop).
Once spring gets here I will be adding some green materials and more layers of manure containing straw along with moldy hay.  
 
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