Pot plants and sandy gardens are more likely to have hydrophobic or water repellent soils. Hydrophobic soils develop when they dry out for long periods of time, especially if there is a lot of organic matter.
There are now many soil wetting products on the market that help soil absorb water. According to Dr Peter May, a soil scientist, there’s a simple way to test your soil for hydrophobicity at home.
Place some soil in a dish. Then, make a well in top of the soil and add water. Hydrophobic soils will cause water to pool on the top. He said that hydrophobic soil is water-resistant and the water is quickly absorbed.
A soil wetting agent is the best way to increase water absorption in hydrophobic soils. “We believe that organic matter leaves a waxy layer on soil particles when it breaks down. Wetting agents work in the same way as detergents. Peter explained that they remove the waxing coating and allow water into the pore spaces between.
He said that most potting mix, once dried, will become water repellent.
This means that if someone says that their plants require watering every day during summer, it could be due to the way they apply water and not the fact that the plant is not taking up water.
It is possible. Peter stated that he believes using wetting agents in containers or pots in summer is a good idea.
A water-storing gel or granule is another product that’s available on the market. It’s designed to increase the soil’s water holding capacity. These small crystals are made up of polymers and can absorb water up to four hundred times their body weight.
Peter stated that a spoonful of crystals (which is roughly what you would put in a pot if it were in potting mixture) will absorb approximately a litre water if left overnight.
He stated that crystals do not conserve water. They increase the soil’s water holding capacity. This increases the water holding capacity of the soil, which means that plants can last longer without watering. Peter stated that while it won’t change how much water a plant needs, it will make the water last longer between drinks.
Hydrophobic soils won’t benefit from the crystals. This is a totally different property. The soil’s water holding capacity is increased by the crystals. The soil wetting agents can overcome hydrophobic soil. Peter stated that it is important to identify the problem in your garden and treat it accordingly.
Let’s sum it all.
- A soil wetting agent is recommended for gardeners who have water-repellent soil. It can help water absorption in sandy soil and pots filled with potting mixture.
- If you use water-storing gels, keep in mind that they will eventually dry. Although you might be able to get an extra day between waterings it is not likely that they have any water conserving value.
- Finally, be sure to distinguish between the products so that you can choose the right product for your needs and soil.