Monday, June 16, 2008

Wetting Agents

Since we have not had any significant rainfall and the summer heat is beginning to kick in many localized hot spots or hydrophobic areas are stating to appear. Preparations have been made weeks ago anticipating these weather conditions and wetting agents were applied to minimize this problem.
Wetting agents, work by lowering the cohesive and/or adhesive surface water tension. This reduction of surface tension allows the water to spread out more evenly and allow for better penetration into the soils, especially soils that are hydrophobic. The infiltration of water into these soils can often be improved by applying a wetting agent. Wetting agents are detergent-like substances that reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate and wet the soil more easily.
Hydrophobic soils exhibit the inability to absorb water to the point of repellency. This situation is made more problematic when soil also contains high levels of sodium and chlorides. Combine these three factors and the soil turns cement like and produces poor conditions for turfgrass to perform well. Play areas such as greens and tees are treated every month with wetting agents to prevent hydrophobic conditions from developing. Areas such as fairways and rough are spot treated as they appear.
The picture below demonstrates how wetting agents lower surface tension and help remove dew from the leaf blade of the grass.

Another tool that we are using to combat hydrophobic soil conditions is the use of a Seair ozone diffusion water treatment system. Laboratory testing has shown that this diffusion system actually lowers the surface tension of the water, allowing for better water penetration.