Water conservation aid helps root development in strawberries

A recent trial has shown that mixing water with the conservation agent, H2Flo from ICL, causes the water to penetrate the soil three times as deep as water alone, encouraging healthy root development in strawberry crops.

H2Flo enhances the lateral and vertical movement of water within soil, helping to reduce irrigation usage and water runoff. “By looking at data from moisture probes, we found that H2Flo moved the water down to 60cm, and the plant was removing water from this level, which benefits the plant root growth,” says Scott Garnett, ICL senior agronomist. “Roots will only grow into an area if there is water there and plants can only take up nutrients in soil solution (soil water), so the greater the root mass the more nutrients and water are available to the crop,” adds Scott.

The trials were conducted at Stewarts of Tayside, located in Perth, Scotland, during 2016. The product was tested on a 1.4ha plot for one season, and H2Flo was applied to soil-grown strawberry crops, through a dripline in five treatments of differing application levels according to crop requirements, mixed with fertilisers.

Irek Wypasek, fruit manager at Stewarts of Tayside, was impressed with the results. “We tested H2Flo against several other water surfactant products, and it proved to be the best product, as water was retained in the shoulders of the growing soil bed for longer, so we didn’t have to irrigate as often, saving us money. Overall I think that H2Flo is a brilliant product that can increase the productivity of our strawberry crops by reducing the irrigation cost and improving plant quality,” said Mr Wypasek.

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