The application of hydrogel technology within agriculture

There is no denying that we are heading for some difficult times if we do not take the necessary steps, with governments worldwide pledging to do their bit to help with the global climate crisis.

It is well documented that over the last couple of years, weather conditions have become increasingly more unusual, with persistently higher temperatures and reduced levels of rainfall. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that a recent study conducted for the AGU journal Earth’s Future indicates that 2050 water scarcity in agriculture will have increased for more than 80% of the world’s crops.

This is why those who are engaged in the agricultural industry need to be considering the alternatives that are available to them. Hydrogels like Gelponics have the potential to be the future of agriculture.

What is hydrogel?

Hydrogel is a product increasingly used by companies involved in forestry, agriculture, urban greenery, horticulture and even sporting venues. Hydrogel technology helps to ensure that there is a better use of water in a range of different environments. It ensures plants have sufficient water even during long periods of absence by the person tending to them or during dryer periods in the weather. This means crops have better protection, plants can thrive, and areas like football pitches and golf courses can remain healthy and green without excess water during periods when water boards need to put water restrictions in place.

How is hydrogel used?

When hydrogel is placed in ground soil, it helps to retain nutrients and water, where you will find the plant roots. This means that the requirement for watering can be reduced for around five years by between 50-70%.

Hydrogel is incredibly simple to use too. The dry product is added to the soil in the prepared hole created for a tree, plant or shrub. The plant is planted in the usual way but with a layer of hydrogel between it and the soil. When the plant is watered thoroughly, this allows for the maximisation of the hydrogel absorption process.

This clever method of retaining water in the ground soil means reducing the frequency with which a crop needs to be watered. This does not mean that the plants will suffer from a reduction in water; their growth is enhanced to produce a healthy crop. Hydrogel can be used for a wide range of growing from orchards to vineyards, agriculture to simple gardening, all with the same great results.

It can also be used in parks and sports fields to ensure healthy grass without relying on regular watering and sprinkler systems. This is more economical for water use and, in the case of sprinklers – which are also often used in agricultural settings –  a  good way of conserving energy and reducing bills.

Other uses for hydrogel

In addition to being the ideal way to grow better plants whilst reducing your water usage, hydrogel is also incredibly beneficial for the transportation and storage of indoor plants and terraces and live outdoor plants. This is all made possible because hydrogel was created to cultivate plants in somewhat extreme conditions, such as on the slopes and in sandy soils.

Because hydrogel comes in various formats, crystal, usually used for larger areas of soil, and powder, better for smaller applications and some agricultural spaces, it is essential to research the best type for your needs.

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