SOIL WETTING AGENTS FOR SPORTS TURF

There is a wide range of wetting agents for the lawn and sportsturf situations. In hydrophobic soils, soil wetting agents work by countering hydrophobicity while in saturated soils, wetting agents can help to increase water movement through the soil profile. This results in a decrease in water use improved water efficiency and a more consistent playing surface. 2022 surfactant research into Hydroforce® Ultra is on our recent soil wetting agent blog.

In a wetting agent survey in 2004, wetting agents use was for four reasons:

  • Relieving localized dry spots (42%);
  • Managing water (32%);
  • Improving drainage (11%) and
  • Improving pesticide movement into the soil (9%).

What is a soil wetting agent?

The definition of a wetting agent for soil is “Any compound that causes a liquid to spread more easily across or penetrate the surface of a solid by reducing the surface tension of the liquid.”

Managing sand-based rootzones can be challenging particularly during dry, hot conditions, and hydrophobicity can result in ‘hot spots’ that tend to dry out faster compared to other turf areas.

A common question we are asked is “What is the best wetting agent?” and after years of experience, we can say that the new Indigo Hydroforce range developed by RhizoSolutions is the best on the market.

The reason for this is simple. The Indigo Hydroforce® range has been researched by some of the world’s most renowned Universities and has been proven to work under all field conditions. They simply are the best soil wetting agents in Australia. Use of the Hydroforce® range:

  • Promotes healthy turf as water and chemicals penetrate deeper and more uniformly into the root zone;
  • Ensures uniform water distribution through the rootzone, and consequently encourages a deeper root structure, subsequently meaning healthier, denser, and more uniform turf surfaces;
  • Saves water because there is less loss to run-off or surface evaporation;
  • Increases root mass;
  • Reduces turf diseases such as dollar spot and lastly
  • Improves turf health.

 

Pete Dunn, Course Superintendent at Federal G.C.

‘Mate that HydroForce Ultra wetting agent is the best product I’ve ever seen by a mile. On the third day at 35°C and we haven’t had to put any hand watering on the greens. We wouldn’t even irrigate if it wasn’t for the surrounds drying out.’…

Dave Ramage the Course Superintendent at Fairbairn GC.

‘Yes, good results so far improved infiltration on some of the heavier soil greens with no water pooling in areas that had before.’…

Don’t be fooled by marketing. This gear is proven!

 

Product

Description

Label

MSDS

Technical Sheet

Consume

A modified poly-siloxane with excellent properties as a soil penetrant.

Extend

This is a proprietary formulation of non-ionic surfactants giving extended longevity.

Inject

A blend of proprietary non-Ionic surfactants that optimizes irrigation efficiency. Can be applied via Irrigation systems or conventional sprayers.

Ultra

A unique modified block co-polymer that has been extensively field-tested, in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It Performs well even in the toughest of conditions, where competitors' products have struggled.

YDROFORCE-ULTRA-VS-FAIRY-RING

Hydroforce Ultra gives great results vs fairy ring

Reduced dollar spot after application of Hydroforce Ultra soil wetting agent

Reduce dollar spot with Hydroforce Ultra.

Hydroforce Ultra soil wetting agent improves turf health compared to competitors.

The use of the Hydroforce Range of soil wetting agents improves turf quality

Chart

Using Hydroforce Ultra gives consistently better turf health compared to competitors.

Hydroforce Ultra soil wetting agent improves root growth
WATER-INFILTRATION-VS-COMPETITION

As a superior soil wetting agent Hydroforce Ultra gives a higher rate of water Infiltration vs competitor

Hydroforce Ultra turf soil wetting agent

Do wetting agents retain water or help it penetrate into the soil profile?

When wetting agents were first introduced to the market they were designed to help water move into the soil profile by reducing surface water repellency and hydrophobicity. Many of these were excellent at doing this but were also likely to cause turf damage if not watered in immediately. Over time the chemistry has improved so that now soil-wetting agents also help water move evenly through the soil profile and also have plant health benefits. That’s a key difference with Hydroforce® Ultra. Not only is it an excellent soil-wetting agent it has numerous secondary benefits such as improving root volume and turf health.

The soil chemistry of any wetting agent will influence how it performs. For example, in a US study of 15 wetting agents a modified polysiloxane gave the lowest surface tension. This reduces water surface tension to a third of tap water! This is called Consume® in Australia

Our current wetting agent trial is looking at answering questions such as their ability to retain water so stay tuned!

Does soil wetting agent need watering in?

Soil wetting agents work in the soil, so after applying they need to be watered in. The question should be how long after application can they be left before watering in? Ideally, they should be immediately watered in following application but we live in far from an ideal world! Hydroforce Ultra uses an innovative block polymer technology that offers exceptional safety after application. However, it is still recommended to Irrigate after application to move the product into the root zone.

Are all wetting agents the same?

Due to differences in formulation soil wetting agents differ in their effects on water infiltration, retention, and ability to reduce surface tension. For example, recent wetting agent trials have shown that there a big differences in their ability to retain soil moisture.

How long do wetting agents last?

The two main factors influencing this are their chemistry and environmental conditions. Some are marketed as only needing to be applied once-a-season and claim to last up to three months. The issue that we have with this is that you don’t know when they stop working so it can lead to periods when effectively no wetting agent is present. If a soil wetting agent lasts a month and you apply on a regular basis then you avoid these issues developing. Always ask for independent data to support any claims made rather than relying on a glossy brochure.

Why do some wetting agents burn grass and cause damage when applied?

Some surfactants dissolve cuticle/wax layers on the leaf blades causing discoloration and burning if allowed to stay on the leaf surface too long. Hyroforce Ultra contains no harmful chemicals
that can cause turf burn. However, as with most things if you apply any chemical when it’s blistering hot and don’t follow the label in regard to watering in you are asking for trouble.

Can I use washing up liquid as a soil wetting agent?

The addition of ordinary washing detergent can give a short term improvement in water penetration into the soil. However, many household detergents contain high phosphate levels which can wash into our drains and streams and are harmful to wildlife. Also, they can be very phytotoxic. Stick to a specialized formulator.