University Research Project 3- What are the Principle Modes of Action of Wetting Agents and How can they Aid Turfgrass Quality While Improving Water Conservation.
Wetting agents are a class of surfactant – organic chemicals that reduce the surface tension between two materials. The sandy soils that many golf courses are constructed on can develop water repellency due to an organic coating that forms around sand particles. Wetting agents allow water to effectively bind with sand particles and can significantly reduce the length of time that water sits on the soil surface. Along with potentially improving turf quality, this has positive implications in terms of reducing surface runoff and improving water use efficiency.
The evidence presented in this study shows that wetting agents can affect the distribution of water resources in the soil by shifting the rhizosheath water content to bulk soil water content ratio to potentially maximise water and nutrient uptake by the roots. The results also show that another wetting agent treatment has the potential to improve drought tolerance in drought susceptible species through analysis of plant growth rate under drought conditions, stomatal conductance, and leaf relative water content. It is hypothesised that the combination of effects caused by a wetting agent treatment may lead to improved water use efficiency and a more desirable sward composition for golf course owners in the field, resulting in water conservation and a reduction in the need to use herbicides to combat weed species