Improving Water Retention in Hydrophobic Soil

Feb 07, 2022 by Renee McMahill in

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About this Session

Improving Water Retention in Hydrophobic Soil

By Matthew C. Fleetwood, Ph.D. Student • University of Missouri
By Xi Xiong, Associate Professor, Plant Sciences • University of Missouri

Soil hydrophobicity, or soil water repellency, is a common issue for many soil types and especially a problem for sand-based putting greens. Without treatment, eventually, water will bypass hydrophobic areas and thus form localized dry spots. This presentation explains the cause of the soil water repellency, and how wetting agents can be helpful to reduce the surface tension of water, thus leading to improvement of wettability of the soil. Despite many wetting agent products in the turf market that can effectively suppress the formation of localized dry spots, there are differences in their chemical structure and therefore how they influence plant available water. Research results from the University of Missouri will reveal this disparity, which will provide the end-users with information that is needed in selecting the best possible wetting agent products when water retention is concerned.

  • Used with permission from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.