Occurs in many soils, including intensively managed turf situations. This can be caused by:
1) Very waxy organic residues coating sand particles preventing water entry into the soil. These waxy coatings do this by causing the water to “bead” on the soil surface which prevents water from soaking in between the sand grains; can cause soil surface runoff and leads to erosion and evaporation of moisture before it can be utilized by plants or to stimulate germination. In newly cleared or uncleared soils, leaf, stem and root litter from the native vegetation break down into water repellant residues to form the waxy skins on the sand particles.
2) Soil fungi can also produce these waxy residues. Fungal growth is greatest in warm, moist conditions and the water repellant residues tend to accumulate under perennial situations (eg turf, pastures such as lucerne) which increases the repellence problem.
RM129 is a 100% W/V non-ionic polymeric surfactant. When applied with water it improves the efficiency of water penetration into hydrophobic soils.
RM129 Soil Wetter absorbs strongly onto soil particles and is slow to degrade, providing long-term performance. Comprehensive testing has proven RM129 does not create any soil phytotoxicity.
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Kevin Handreck FAIH Soil Scientist September 1999