‘You never miss the water until the well runs dry’ seems particularly apt given the recent dry April conditions and the industry’s need to conserve water resources from a cost and availability perspective – says ICL technical sales manager, Steve Chapman.
“Many growers are already facing a range of watering conundrums which are set to get worse over the coming summer months,” he says. “However, many can be alleviated, or rectified, using the advanced wetting and water conservation agent H2Gro - which helps guard against plant stress.
“Overwintered root-bound plants can be a major issue at this time of year,” he says. “The associated problems increase by the day as roots take over the interior space, leaving little room in the pot to hold water. The growing media therefore dries out faster and takes longer to absorb water.
“To help optimise plant quality – while saving time, money and precious water resources – we recommend our quality water management tool H2Gro. Employing the latest technologies, it contains a unique blend of surfactants formulated into an advanced wetting agent designed specifically to aid water management in growing media.
“Available in a granular or liquid formulation, H2Gro maximising water holding capacity. With a 3 in 1 mode of action, it improves wetting and spreading, penetrating and rewetting – even in water repellent materials.
H2Gro granules are routinely incorporated into Levington Advance sustainable mixes to improve water management and can deliver full season benefits depending on the rate used. “This is particularly important as growers reduce reliance on peat and adopt higher percentages of wood-based products which are naturally less hydrophilic,” explains Steve.
“H2Gro is a reliable and handy solution for plants growing at the edges of bed, or along the sides of tunnels – where pots tend to dry out faster. Also, in crops growing quicker than those surrounding them. In these situations, H2Gro provides a simple, proven solution – helping reduce rewetting time as well as the volume of precious water required - growers can ill afford to waste water.”
Steve advises his customers to incorporate H2Gro liquid in all water soluble fertilizer programme – he believes the two go hand in hand. “Even at the lowest recommended rate, 5ml per 1000L of water, it helps ensure the feed penetrates the growing media and gets exactly where you want it,” he says. “In the pot, where roots can take it up, and certainly not running away down the drain.”
“Our wetting agent makes a great addition to hanging basket mixes, where low growing media volumes dry out quickly - especially once plants are in full growth. Often watered with a single dripper, if the growing media dries out the water typically run straights through - failing to spread out sideways. Adding H2Gro granules helps ensure the water spreads out evenly in the basket, helping prevent dried out (hydrophobic) areas.”
Last, but not least, Steve says H2Gro has a role to play at despatch. “Plants can sit for long periods without being irrigated - over a weekend or on a lorry in hot weather,” he says. “Adding H2Gro to the water pre-despatch helps ensure every bit of the growing media is fully wetted up before it leaves the nursery - ultimately helping to improve the shelf life of the product boosting retailer and end-user satisfaction.”