Watering Lawns and Plants: How to Use Soil Surfactants
How to Use Soil Surfactants for Healthy Soil, Plants and Lawns
During incredibly dry or overly wet conditions, soils surfactants can help to manage water and oxygen in soil for optimal plant health. If soil is sandy or packed with clay, soil surfactants can assist to make these soil types more optimal for plant growth as well. High winds, compacted soil and other factors can contribute to the need for wetting agents to best care for plants.
Choosing the best soil surfactant for your conditions is important. Soil surfactants by Geoponics are very economical and can help to save water, time and plant health.
What Is a Soil Surfactant?
Other names for soil surfactants include wetting agents or soil penetrants. All are designed to break the surface tension between soil, air and plant roots to provide for water and nutrient uptake. They improve and balance aerobic conditions.
A soil surfactant, depending on which one is used, will either help to move water through the soil profile or help to retain water. A wetting agent can also help to increase soil porosity (such as in clay soil) and added organic matter when needed (such as in sandy soil and new construction). Porosity is the space between soil particles and the optimal amount of space provides enough oxygen in the soil environment but not so much space that water just completely drains out, taking nutrients with it as it runs off.
Know Your Soil and Growing Conditions
Whether you choose to call it a soil surfactant, wetting agent or soil penetrant, take a look at your soil’s current conditions to decipher what is needed.
Consider current weather conditions and overall climate of where you live. Take note of the type of soil you have.
- Sandy soil
- Clay soil
- Hilly or flat
- Organic matter
- Water restrictions
- Salinity, salty soils
Understanding the Effects of Soil Conditions on Water Management
When your plants or lawn are showing signs of stress, proper watering can help. But sometimes, watering alone isn’t the only condition to consider. By using a wetting agent, watering can be made more efficient and water demands can sometimes be reduced.
If water is sitting on top of the soil or not draining, you may want a penetrant to get the water moving. When water sits too long, anaerobic conditions develop, causing harm to the roots and plants. So you always want to keep water moving to some degree, but you do not want water moving through the soil so quickly that the soil is drying out without giving plants the water and nutrient uptake they need.
If water drains and dries out too quickly, a soil surfactant made specifically for retaining water can help. A lack of organic matter in soil can be a factor as well, so a soil surfactant that has an added benefit of increasing organic matter can be of the most benefit in these conditions.
High heat can increase anaerobic conditions. So moving more water will be helpful. Humidity can also have this effect.
Winds will lead to drying soil out too quickly and may require more organic matter to help retain water and nutrients.
The peak of a hill in a landscape may also dry too quickly and require water retaining properties and organic matter for a balanced soil ecology.
Five Soil Surfactants: How to Choose the Best of the Wetting Agents
Geoponics offers five different wetting agents, also called soil surfactants or soil penetrants. These are Penterra, Humawet, Duration, Profasorb and HydraHawk.
Which is best for your lawn, garden or plants? First look at your soil again. Does it seem that it will not hold water?
Or, is water just seemingly running through the soil, and then, it’s quickly dry again?
Retain Water: Humawet, Profasorb or Duration
Humawet is ideal for soil that is quickly losing water due to wind, runoff or drought. It is the most versatile soil surfactant, beneficial for nearly all conditions. Humawet is extremely beneficial for soil that is low in organic matter, which may be the case in new construction areas, including new golf greens. Sandy soil is also low in organic matter and can benefit greatly from Humawet. The humic acid will assist in increasing nutrient uptake. Humawet is excellent at creating an aerobic environment, which is ideal for plant growth. Visit Humawet.com purchase on ShopGeoponics, or Amazon. Call your sales rep or 1-877-ECO-GROW and ask about larger quantities and discounts.
Profasorb is a similar product, however, it is designed specifically for professional use in a fertigation or drip line irrigation system. This is an ideal soil surfactant for use on golf courses to loosen clay, as well as to condition and aggregate soil. Profasorb opens up soil pores for increasing oxygen and water penetration. Golf course superintendents often choose Profasorb to minimize the need for physical aerification, which causes closures, loss of income and other challenges. (Also look at Agriox for adding oxygen. The two (or any soil surfactant with Agriox) may be purchased together for greater benefits and discounts.) Learn more about Porfasorb at Profasorb.com Contact your sales rep or 1-877-ECO-GROW for sales and to order today.
Duration helps soil to retain water and is the most economical choice for this purpose. This wetting agent will also increase oxygen in the soil. Professional turfgrass managers, agriculture professionals and experienced gardeners know how important this oxgyen is and also know the disruption that physical aerification can cause. Duration can help increase this oxygen in soil without the disruption of physically moving the soil or uprooting plants. Furthermore, Duration will improve nutrient uptake from soil to plant. If you need to decrease surface tension to get the water to the root zone, Duration will help. This is a fast acting, economic soil surfactant. It will help to reduce localized dry spot, optimize water usage and increase soil as well as plant health. Buy on Amazon. Contact your sales rep or 1-877-ECO-GROW for discounts on larger quantities.
Move Water: Penterra or HydraHawk
Penterra is the fastest-acting, most powerful soil penetrant. For this reason, it is recommended to be used just as directed and in relatively severe situations. Choose Penterra when you need to get water moving fast through the soil. This will improve oxygen, aeration and get water off the surface. (NOTE: It is important to use Penterra as recommended on the bottle. This is true in general but particularly important not to use too much Penterra and to flush Penterra from foliage or leaf surfaces immediately after application with water. It is sometimes called the “rain drain” and it’s important to water it into the soil and to get it off the plant leaf surface for best results and for the health of the plant. Although it is great for home use or professional use, this anionic nature of Penterra makes it a preferred product among professionals who can handle its powerful effects in moving water.) Penterra.net View a Flyer PDF: Soil penetrant Penterra
HydraHawk will also move water and is suitable for use in most situations where moving water is needed. Ideal in the most severe climate conditions, HydraHawk contains unique natural surfactants that help the plants utilize water and survive in extreme heat, drought and soil salinity. These unique plant extracts in Humawet also provide natural sugars that stimulate beneficial microbial activity in soil. HydraHawk.com
Soil Surfactants: Purchasing Options and Discounts on Large Quantities
Amazon: Duration and Penterra are available at Geoponics’ store on Amazon
For HydraHawk and Profasorb, contact your distributor or Geoponics directly.
For discounts and larger quantities, contact your sales rep or 1-877-ECO-GROW. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for quotes.
Soil surfactants help to increase oxygen in soil, minimizing the need for physical aerification. Agriox will add even more oxygen to soil profiles when needed, reducing the need to physically aerify the recommended four times per year, which may not be possible or may cause unnecessary closures or game delays on golf courses, for example. Add Agriox to your surfactant order and request available specials. 1-877-ECO-GROW or through your sales rep.