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WETTING CRYSTALS FOR PLANTS
Your plants when you forget
WATERSAVE is a synthetic water imbibing polymer designed to aid water management by improving the water retentive properties of all types of growing media. Its action can be compared to a sponge. However, while a sponge retains its size with or without water, WATERSAVE swells and shrinks as it hydrates and dehydrates. The water held by the crystals is fixed and cannot be removed by pressure or centrifugal forces until more than five atmospheres is exerted. WATERSAVE may be used in horticulture, aboriculture and agriculture.
When mixed with soil or other growing media WATERSAVE is able to absorb large quantities of water. This water forms seperate gel particles into and around which roots can grow and extract the water they need. The amount of water held by a given growing medium is thereby increased and optimum plant growth is promoted. Drainage losses are also reduced which in turn allows a reduction in the amont and frequency of waterings.
WATERSAVE absorbs and releases water within the growing medium, it expands and then contracts. This physical movement helps to maintain a good open structure, improving aeration and hence promoting vigorous root growth.
WATERSAVE is used in two distinct ways. Firstly, in dry form when mixed with growing media. And secondly, in the form of a swollen gel, as a root dip for transplanting, for example.
The rate of use for dry addition is 1 to 3 kg of WATERSAVE per cubic metre of soil. When used in this way it is essential to ensure even mixing, and that the WATERSAVE is fully activated with water before or immediately after planting.
To prepare a swolen gel, mix 1 kg of WATERSAVE with 150-300 litres of water and allow to stand for about 60 minutes. The resultant gel should be relatively stiff and adhesive. For smaller quantities mix in accordance with the scale below.
|Pot / Hole Size
Teaspoon per plant
DIRECTIONS FOR USE
For smal areas to be treated, the quantity of WATERSAVE (determined from the table below) should be carefully incorporated by hoeing or raking into the soil.
Rate of WATERSAVE incorporated (gm/m2)
|Depth of* Incorporation (cm)||Free Draining Soils||Medium Soils||Water Retentive Soils|
*Depths of normal rooth growth of the crop to be grown
Trials have been conducted with a wide range of crops. WATERSAVE works best on irrigated crops most prone to stress damage. Application methods are important to success. It appears that vegetables with smaller root systems such as cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce react well to rototilling into the bed dose to the plant. Banding the crystals into the seed rows or beside them especially on crops with far-ranging root systems (eg. corn, wheat, soybeans, tomatoes etc.) has not produced good results even with high application rates.
Better success rates have been achieved with as little as 12 to 15 Kg per hectare where the crystals are spread and then worked into the soil.
For seedling transplant into open soil spread the crystals or gel throughout the soul but dip the seedlings into a fine mix of gel prior to planting to give plants a healthy start. Results will vary from soul type to soil type. Some examples of rates of application for various crops are given below:
- Brassica - 15 to 30 Kg per hectare
- Lettuce - 15 Kg per hectare in furrows
- Cantaloupes - 45 Kg per hectare spread
- Peppers - 15 Kg per hectare spread along rows
- Onions - 15 Kg per hectare spread
- Tomatoes - 15-30 Kg per hectare spread
- Beans - 10-15 Kg per hectare spread
- Wheat - 10-15 Kg per hectare spread
- Alfalfa - 20-30 Kg per hectare spread
COMPOSTS / POTTING MIX
WATERSAVE is recommended for addition to all types of compost/potting mix used for seeds, plants, grow bags, hanging baskets, shrubs etc.
Carefully mix in 1-3 Kg WATERSAVE per m3 of compost (1-3 grams per litre). Use the higher rate for composts having a naturally low water holding capacity or where the water to be used has a high dissolved salt concentration. When using the compost, ensure that additional water is added to fully activate the WATERSAVE. Alternatively, the desired quantity of WATERSAVE can be added to the compost pre-swollen as described previously.
When in use, composts containing WATERSAVE will retain water for longer periods and so the frequency of watering may be reduced. Composts containing WATERSAVE will also maintain a good, well aerated structure.
WATERSAVE is unaffected by pH's encountered in normal soils, composts and irrigation water. At pH levels of less than 5, the water absorbency is reduced.
WATERSAVE remains stable at temperatures in excess of 150oC and so is unaffected by steam sterilisation.
WATERSASVE may be used when transplanting all types of trees, shribs, field crops and ornamentals. It will reduce transplant shock and the checking of resultant growth by maintaining water supply while new roots are being established for example.
- As Root Dip (suit able for small seedlings)
Prepare a awollen WATERSAVE gel as described. The bare rooted transplants should be dipped into the gel either singly or in bunches, depending on size, and then planted out into soil in the usual way. To ensure adequate root penetration when dipping in bunches the use of a loose gel (made by using double the amount of water) is recommended.
If desired, a greater loading of WATERSAVE may be obtained by dipping the transplants into dry drystals immediatly after the gel.
- As a Gel Plug (for trees and shribs)
Prepare a WATERSAVE gel then dig a suitably sized hole to recieve the transplant. Add to the hole a quantity of gel equal in volume to about 10% of the removed soil. Transplant and backfill in the usual way
- Dry Addition (only suitable where adequate water is available)
Dig a suitable sized hole to recieve the transplant then mix dry WATERSAVE with the backfill soil at a rate of 1-3 Kg per m3. Plant and backfill in the usual way ad water thoroughly.
- Survival Planting
This method has been showing great success on large scale planting of trees and costs are only in the order of cents per tree. Using a fine powder mix the WATERSAVE into a slurry for bare rrot dipping prior to planting. The fine powder has a tendency to pick up small amounts of water faster than the crystals. A cup or so of regular pre-soaked crystlals are then mixed into the backfill.
Prepare a suitable seed bed in the usual way. WATERSAVE should then be incorporated by spreading into the top 5-8 cm of soil at a rate of 10-20gms per m2. The actual rate will depend on the soil type; use a higher rate for free draining sandy soils. The area may then be seeded, fertilised and watered in the usual way. Grass sods may also be laid over the gel or crystals on the soil bed.
WATERSAVE will protect roots and maintain water dupply while plants are in transit. Prepare a gel in the usual way and dip bare plant roots into the gel as soon as possible after removal from the soil.
PLANT PROPAGATION (for seed germination and for propagation of cuttings)
Prepare a swollen gel and use this as a medium for seed, germination or for striking cutting. Transplant into a suitable growing medium when roots are established.
The amount of water absorbed by WATERSAVE will depend on its salinity. The following relates the quality of water to the ability of WATERSAVE to retain water.
- Distilled Water - approximately 500 times its weight
- 1 gm/lt of salt - approx. 150-200 times its weight
- 4 gm/lt of salt - approx. 90 times its weight
- Sea Water - approx. 40 times its weight
An 8% salt solution has been shown to reduce swelling capacity of WATERSAVE by a factor of ten.
- Reduces watering frequency: When properly applied, WATERSAVE can reduce watering frequency by 50-75% in potted plants. 15-40% on lawns and golf courses, and in the 20-40% range for most irriated field crops. Its water storage capability significantly reduces stress periods in virtually all plants by providing extra reserve water stored in the hydrated crystals.
The additional water stored in WATERSAVE crystals is over 95% available to plants
- Improves soil conditions: WATERSAVE significantly improves available water holding capacity of sandy soil... by as muc as 600% - plus increases infiltration rates of water through clay soils by the constant hydrauic expansion and contraction of the crystals as they absorb and release water to thirsty plat roots.
Reduces Leaching losses of fertilisers and nutrients: Due to relatively free ion exchange, WATERSAVE absorbs, stores and releases soluble fertiliser and nutrients almost as readily as it handles water, therefore decreasing losses to leaching.
Increased Germination: When WATERSAVE is placed in the seed row, emergence is increased for most plants, and early growth and survival of seedlings is improved.
Trees and Shrubs: WATERSAVE "fine" pulverised granules makes and excellent, inexpencive barefoot dip to promote survival in transport and transplanting of tree and shrib seedlings and extra, long term water storage for the tree and shrub root system.
Herbicide and growth regulators: It is recommended that trials first be carried out to determine the effect of using the WATERSAVE as the crystals in some cases may increase the effectiveness of fertilisers. Normal fertilisation practices should be included as part of the trials.
Application rates: WATERSAVE application rates generally all in the 5 to 15 Kg per hectare range when drilled into or spread near the seed rows: while broadcasting rates for specialised uses such as lawns and athletic fields may require application in the 80 to 200 Kg per hectare range. The key is to get the crystals distributed evenly in appropriate amounts within the normal root growth area of a particular plant.
Pencil method for existing potted plants: Insert pencil 3-4 places around the plant to four-fifths the depth of the pot. Divide correct amount of dry crystals for the pot size evenly among these holes. Reinsert pencil to push crystals to the bottom of the holes. Water twice thoroughly withing 3 hours.
WATERSAVE is a must have for establishing a water-wise garden. Highly recommended for establishment of plants into areas dependant on natural irrigation.
- Extends periods of time between watering
- Improves aeration, drainage and water retention of soils
- Will release 95% of its moisture to plants
- Can also be used with container grown plants
- 30% better efficiency compared to leading brands
SAFETY HANDLING: WATERSAVE is considered non-hazardous and non-toxic. Handle with good agricultural hygiene practices. Store way from children, foodstuffs, pets and livestock. Wash hands after use. If handling in bulk where dusts may be generated use a dust mask and goggles.
WARNING NOTICE: The information within this leaflet is as accurate as to the product's capabilities and limitations as defined by present research. The leaflet is intended for general use of WATERSAVE. It should not be considered as a guarantee of its suitability for a particular application. Agtech Natural Resources Pty Ltd offers no warranties either expressed or implied nor is liability accepted for error or omissions in the information.
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