What is This WATER-IN Product You Speak of???
What is WATER-IN? I've been deluged with questions concerning the product Water-In lately, so much so that I thought it was worth diving in head first with a flow of information on said product. (Did you get all the water-related puns?)
Whether the company that makes Water-In or not agrees with my terminology, I affectionately refer to it as is a Soil Surfactant. The company in question is Brandt Industries which took over the local company Parkway Research (Home of Consan Triple Action 20) which introduced the Water-In product to our market. What Water-In actually is by the company's definition is a biodegradable and neutral product that can be used in conjunction with fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides to carry them down to the roots of your gardening problems.
Water-In is comprised of surfactants (an acronym for Surface Active Agents) and with our varying degrees of high surface tension in water and compacted soils and mulches, it will help all water-related applications penetrate and percolate through the soil much more effectively.
This product should always be diluted prior to use in water, whether by mixing in a container or dispensing in a hose-end sprayer. Water-In should always be applied to the point of run off. Initial treatments are simply 2 tablespoons of product to 1 gallon of water. This is typically sufficient enough to eliminate water runoff, puddling and enables that water as described earlier penetrate more easily. Subsequent treatments 2-3 months later can be cut in half, or 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water. However, you can use as much as 4-6 ounces per gallon of water without any fear or burning or phyto-toxic shock.
All of this seemingly technical information is so important at this time of the year for two reasons, in my estimation. First, when things get so hot, so fast, we appropriately increase the irrigation and watering schedules. In so doing, we are slowly and surely eliminating a lot of the natural ability of the top soil or mulch to help percolate that water down further into the ground. With all the chlorines and fluorides and various other chemicals in our public water systems (which keep us safe from bacterial problems) it tends to eliminate that biological ability of the soil to do what it wants to do naturally. The second issue is simply that people don't add more mulch or compost or soils to their beds, and age tends to create that surface tension barrier as well.
So, we need to give it a helping hand. Water-In is that helping hand to breakdown that surface tension and let the water (coupled with whatever you're treating with, be it fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide or herbicide) get down into the root system to do the job it was intended to do. If you have no idea whether your landscape has the need for a soil surfactant, just get out with a hose this afternoon spray a stream of water on the surface. If it rolls right off or puddles at the top, you've got a problem that needs to be addressed.
Whether you use a product like Water-In (by the way another good soil surfactant on the market, but not near as readily available is Perc-o-late Plus from Monterey Lawn & Garden) here is a complete list of benefits when using a soil surfactant:
• Reduces water runoff - the major factor of soil erosion and wasted water.
• Breaks through compacted layers of soil allowing water to penetrate deeper and more evenly.
• Maintains a deeper rooting zone for healthier and more luxurious plants, turf, shrubs, and trees.
• Quickly penetrates through heavy thatch and water repellent planting mixes such as peat moss.
• Eliminates puddling thus reducing the potential for disease.
• Leaches salt and other unwanted mineral build-ups down to a level below your plants' root zone allowing full release of beneficial and necessary minerals and chemicals.
The product, as noted, is readily available. If a garden center or hardware store doesn't have it in stock they can get it rather easily, since the product is distributed through the Nitro Phos warehouse in Houston. Thus, if your favorite garden center carries and Nitro Phos products, they can easily order this product for you and get it delivered in a matter of a couple of days. For now, here's a short list of places that are certain to have the product on hand.
Plants For All Seasons
Houston Plants & Garden World
Stanton's In Alvin
Houston Palm Tree
Plus, various Ace Hardware Stores throughout Houston.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.