Soil surfactants (in this case wetting agents) help growers and farmers to optimize water usage by improving the penetration of water, liquid fertilizers, and more into the soil. This means that roots can better access what they need when they need it.
When substrates are dry, as they often are with new plantings, or when there is inconsistent watering, a soil surfactant wetting agent will reduce the surface tension of the water. This reduced surface tension increases both the vertical and lateral movement of water in the soil allowing farmers to improve their water use efficiency.
ICLs soil surfactants are wetting agents that contain the most highly concentrated active ingredients available on the market today, leading the way in water conservation
Is a soil surfactant a wetting agent?
Wetting agents are a category of surfactants that lower the tension of a liquid so hydrophobic soils can absorb water rather than repel it. The active ingredient is usually a ‘surfactant’, which behaves like a detergent: a long molecule that contains a ‘tail’ and a hydrophilic ‘head’. The head can be positively charged (cationic), negatively charged (anionic) or carry no charge (non-ionic).
Surfactants exhibit different characteristics, according to the length of their molecules, and this is often exploited to deliver wetting agents for particular use cases. For example, penetrant wetting agents ensure water percolates down the soil profile. But most wetting agents are formulated with longer chain surfactant molecules. These are designed to be residual, remaining within the soil to reduce repellence and improve moisture availability over a longer period.
How and when are wetting agents applied?
Wetting agents can be applied as an initial humectant and during normal irrigation where they aid the movement of fertilizers. Quickly absorbed by all growing media, our wetting agents are effective throughout the substrates and soil, not just at the surface. Choosing the most advanced wetting agents available to optimize water use efficiency, save time, and save energy. Several factors will influence application frequency, including the formulation and the dose. Residual wetting agents tend to be applied monthly for greatest effect, but product labels will always indicate typical programmes with recommendations based on trial work.
Benefits of Soil Surfactant Wetting Agents:
- Increase penetration of liquid into soil; laterally and vertically
- Improve water conservation
- Overcome soil hydrophobicity and soil water repellence
- Optimize water usage
- Aids movement of fertilizers, liquid, pesticides and more within the soil
Soil surfactants simply help irrigation water go further to move water and fertilizers quickly and efficiently through different soils. Learn more about H2OFlo, ICLs special blend of surfactants.
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Special blend of soil surfactants that reduces water’s surface tension, improving its ability to move both vertically and laterally.
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