Wetting agents are a wonderful new addition for the homeowner to care for their lawns and gardens, which have have been released and risen in great popularity over the last couple of decades.
The primary purpose of wetting agents is to increase the free flowing of water throughout the soil profile for both lawns and gardens, and seeing as though this is a site specialised in lawn care for buffalo lawns, we'll be concentrating on the benefits of wetting agents for buffalo lawns from now on.
Wetting Agents and Water Resistant Soils
Water resistant, or hydrophobic soils are very common in places such as Western Australia, where the soils are often coated with a waxy type of substance which makes the soils resist the free flowing of water.
Not only will the soil under the buffalo lawn resist saturation from the water, the dispersement of the water will be uneven - leaving some areas of soil getting enough water and other areas which get very little water, and thats why we sometimes see patches of buffalo turf which prove to have dry soil underneath the turf when tested.
Past this, a hydrophobic soil will naturally push the water in the soil down deeper into the water table far more quickly than a regular lawn soil might do, and as such the lawn will need far more water than would otherwise be the case.
In these cases, wetting agents will aid in breaking down that waxy coating, and as a result will allow the soil to more freely absorb and disperse and hold onto that same water. This will result in more even coverage of the water in the soil, meaning no more dry patches of buffalo, meaning less water is left sitting on top of the lawn to be evaporated away by the sun, and it means the water will not be so quickly forced away from the top soil and down into the water table, so the buffalo lawn should become much healthier while using less water.
Wetting Agents and Water Logged Soils
Wetting agents are all about the free flowing of water.
We've just seen how wetting agents can treat a hydrophobic soil, now lets see how it can treat the exact opposite problem of a buffalo lawn soil which holds onto too much water.
By applying wetting agents to a water logged soil, the wetting agents will once again do what they are designed to do, which is to allow for the free flowing of water. This time however, the wetting agents will allow the water going onto the buffalo lawn to drain away from the topsoil of the lawn with much greater ease, instead of becoming trapped.
Just be aware that there are limitations to what a wetting agent can achieve in these circumstances. If the lawn is heavily clay based then the soil may need to be permanently improved for drainage by blending the soil with a coarse sand, or may even need to be removed altogether and replaced with a sandy loam.
How Often To Use Wetting Agents
Wetting Agents should be a part of our normal buffalo grass lawn care regimen.
Twice a year is usually optimum for most lawns with water issues, once in Spring and once again in Autumn.
However, if the buffalo lawn soil doesn't have great issues with water repelling or water logging, then once a year should suffice in the Spring.
If our lawn has severe problems then we can add another wetting agents treatment in the Summer time in addition to the treatments in the Spring and Autumn, without any concern.
Are Wetting Agents Safe and How Should The Be Applied
Lastly comes the question of whether wetting agents are safe for use, can we use too much and can we apply them too often? These questions arise from our knowledge of lawn fertilisers which can become toxic to the turf if used too frequently or if too much is applied.
Wetting agents are very different from fertiliser, and present no such risks.
Having said that, we don't want to be applying them too frequently because once they've done their job, theres nothing more that can be done to aid in water flow past this state, so all we're really doing is wasting our money, which is being flushed right down into the water table like when we apply too much water to the lawn.
The same can be said for applying excess quantities of wetting agents at any one time. Its simply a waste and cannot be used by the soil. Its a waste of money.
Measure up the lawn and follow manufacturers recommendations for the application of wetting agents. They can be applied with a fertiliser spreader or by hand, and If need be then apply them a little more often, or at a slightly greater quantity without concern, just be moderate and don't go overboard and we'll get the greatest possible results with the least amount of expense from these wonderful lawn care products.