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Infiltration: The Road to Nutritional Availability and Plant Vitality

In agronomy, we put a lot of emphasis on creating nutritional availability by reducing bicarbonate through acid suppression. Initially sulfurous or weak acids tend to show amazing signs of success however continued use leads to disappointment by year three applying even more product year over year, then forcing the need for calcium sulfate (gypsum, drywall, plaster paris), all the while watching costs elevate and vitality becoming more challenging with noticeably less infiltration, more nutrition bound up in our soils and less micro-nutrients in our tissue analyses.

Sodium and chloride readily present themselves, damaging leaf cells. We push sodium out of the root zone with organic matter, fulvic, humic acid, heavy weak acids, striving to keep toxicity away from the roots. We see the more soluble nutrients and minerals remain readily available and transpire through our vegetation including nitrogen, zinc and unfortunately at times salt.

HCT research shows many consistencies across all aspects of agronomy, supported by reproducible empirical results over varying waters, soils, environmental conditions and vegetation – varying crops, nurseries, turfs, ornamental and even water wells - throughout the western USA. The consistencies encompass carbonate bound scale, toxicity of sodium (usually bound with chloride), and a matrix of excess sulfur/sulfate and bacteria propagating anoxic (non-aerobic) soil profiles, accompanied with sulfate reducing bacteria colonies, H2S and polysaccharide (bio-films like saran wrap, impervious to acids & oxidizers) which all hinder infiltration, nutritional transport and vegetation vitality, far beyond what we perceive.

Research by UC Davis; Solubility of Salts/Solubility Equilibria - reports where “Salts of weak acids are soluble by strong acids, ... but where salts of strong acids will NOT dissolve salts of strong acids.”

Because of this, what we are observing over a span of about three years use of sulfurous acids is what we refer to as a trickle-down effect. Sulfurous acid treated water lowers pH > increases nutrient availability while in solution > as water evaporates, minerals and nutrients concentrate, nucleate and form scale (like water spots on dishware and windows but at a magnitude 1,152 times more on 6 A/ft. of water) > as this occurs more water use, more scale is formed and salt loaded > infiltration becomes increasingly compromised resulting in less infiltration, less hydration and less available nutrition at the root zones > the buildup of unavailable nutrition in the soil > the application of calcium in one form or another > the harboring of sodium > the potential buildup of sulfur and sulfate combined with water bacteria leading to food source for the development of anoxic sulfate reducing bacteria > leading to the production of hydrogen sulfide gas (toxicity) > leading the bacteria formation of polysaccharide which further repels infiltration and which is impervious to strong acids > and where calcium sulfate is applied as an available source of calcium, a desiccant competing for the H2O molecules. And so, vitality, growth rate, volume and quality are all hindered due to the lack of infiltration providing consistent hydration, nutritional availability, dissolved oxygen along with sodium and bio toxicity. Whew, right?

Neither pure H2O nor will rain dissolve scale once it is formed > sodium remains attached, usually bonded with everything and readily solubilizes in many grades of both good and bad water, thereby toxic to our vegetation > aerification and tilling are opening up the soils physically but they are not suppressing the colony forming bacteria or on a path of overcoming the bound-up soil and nutrition. Peeled back layer by layer, scale crystals form by the absorption of carbonate as H2O evaporates. When you dissolve scale into solution, you release gasses – carbon dioxide allowing the minerals to go back into solution. Letting the solute evaporate to dryness again, denser scale formation occurs requiring more acid to resolubilize, if possible. By ion exchanging the carbonate with a strong acid and converting the mineral to an amino, acetate, glycolate, +++, the mineral will not take on carbonate, and becomes a re-hydratable nutrition in a chemical and ionic form almost immediately available for plant uptake. Plant roots do not have to exude so many acids to consume the nutrition. It takes a strong acid to disassociate the carbonate from a strong acid crystal and it takes unique chemistry to keep the reaction from re-crystalizing, from forming surfactants hindering infiltration and converting carbonate minerals into desirable nutrition.

Sodium is yet another challenge, where challenged infiltration harbors toxic salt (Na+). Through the chemical reaction of proton donation, sodium releases and becomes inert, readily flushed and or processed through plant respiration without damage. Chloride is released as a gas.

Sulfur or sulfate in excess (>120 ppm sulfate), plus bacteria at levels of 1,000 or more CFU’s/ml have been found empirically to sustaining sulfate reducing bacteria. Managing bacteria can deter the anaerobic colonies they form in the soil profile that exude H2S, form polysaccharide and have been observed colonizing root bases stifling growth and vitality. Degradation products of effective organic peroxides become dissolved oxygen and pure H2O, referred to as continuous chemical aerification.

The benefits of WaterSOLVTM solutions are numerous; 1/10th the amount of acid at an equivalent cost > less hazard acid > conversion of water and soil hardness to nutrition > spectacular soil curation / infiltration / nutritional transportation > plant hydration on demand > visual vitality / heat stress tolerance / improved product grade, uniformity and yields / no more desiccant / reduced sulfur and sulfate loading / salt release and detoxification / an aerobic soil profile / 10- 15% water demand reduction and associated nutritional demand.

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