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Home Grown: Biochar soil made with charcoal can help withstand fusarium wilt

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - In today's Home Grown, biochar is a new type of soil farmers are experimenting.

Soil is naturally low in carbon and biochar helps to add carbon so crops can grow with more nutrients.

A major threat Yuma County growers are trying to tackle is fusarium wilt, which is a type of fungus.

An experiment proved biochar helps reduce the presence of this fungus in lettuce, according to Robert Masson, agriculture extension agent with the University of Arizona.

"We have a trial going now where we've added different amounts of biochar to the soil, and we're seeing if there's any reduced disease in the lettuce that's being grown" Masson explained. "So far, so good. We are seeing some promising signs that that might be not a silver bullet to kill all the pathogens but to help reduce the impact of this disease."

In comparison, Masson says carbon is given to patients that have alcohol poisoning to get rid of the toxins.

It is no different for crops fighting against the fusarium wilt toxin. 

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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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Cole Johnson

Cole grew up in a small town of just over 3,000 people called Moravia, NY—home of President Millard Fillmore and Fillmore Glen State Park.

He is eager to wake up every morning with the Desert Southwest and give viewers the greatest coverage to start their day.

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