Blog Soil Wetting Agents

What Is a Soil Wetting Agent?

There is no need to ask or answer any other related questions about soil wetting agents until you know the basic definition. So, what is a soil wetting agent?

Terms often used a bit interchangeably related to soil wetting agents include soil surfactants and soil penetrants. Others include wetters, super wetters, adjuvants and more. 

Learning Related Terms:

From Broad Categories to Specific Products

A soil penetrant is a type of wetting agent. Soil wetting agents are also sometimes called soil wetters or super wetters. 

Wetting agents are a type of surfactant. And, surfactants are a type of adjuvant. 

Thus, an adjuvant is the broadest term. 

Soil Wetting Agents Are a Type of Adjuvant: 

So, What Are Adjuvants? 

Adjuvants may be any additive, often in a tank mix, that enhances the activity of another product or chemical, often pesticides. Wetting agents, such as Duration, which can be left on the plant leaf blade without watering-in, can help the plant to absorb other foliar applications, including foliar fertilizers. Thus, Duration is one of Geoponics soil wetting agents that is also an adjuvant. 

Soil Wetting Agents Are Also a Type of Surfactant:

So, What Are Surfactants? 

Wetting agents are a type of surfactant. Surfactants reduce surface tension. Wetting agents reduce surface tension specifically to allow liquids to disperse. 

Technical Notes about Surfactants: 

Surfactants are short for surface-active agents. Surfactants are molecules that contain a hydrophilic, or water-loving end, and a hydrophobic, or water-fearing end. The electrical charge on the water-loving end of the molecule distinguishes between the different types of surfactants.

These types of surfactants include: Anionic, nonionic, cationic and amphoteric. 

Most surfactants used in lawn, garden, golf course, sports field and related horticultural areas are nonionic surfactants.

Household Surfactants: Can I Use Soap as a Soil Wetting Agent?

It’s relatively common knowledge that soaps are surfactants. But not all soaps make good soil surfactants, far from it! In fact, many household soaps and detergents react with the soil and with fertilizers. The results can be fatal to plants.

Conclusion: So What Exactly Is a Soil Wetting Agent?

A soil wetting agent is a soil surfactant that breaks surface tension to allow water, and other liquids if desired, to infiltrate soil. By getting water evenly dispersed in soil, the soil profile is healthier because it leads to even distribution of oxygen. These balanced aerobic soil conditions caused by soil wetting agents leads to healthy microbial activity in soil as well. Furthermore, plants not only are able to get the water they need, but also better utilize the nutrients in the soil through the use of the soil wetting agents.

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Do I need a soil wetting agent? Signs you need a soil wetting agent include dry spots, frequent watering, water not infiltrating the surface and others.


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