Soil Moist - Hydrogel

jamiedolan(4/5)July 22, 2010

HI;

I am wondering if any of you have used a product like Soil Moist or Hydrogel. It is a polymer that absorbs a large volume of water. You mix it in with the soil around a plant.

I've not tried them, but was thinking that they would work well for Hosta.

If you have used them, how do they work compared to just working some peat into your soil?

Thanks

Jamie

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idiothe(4 MN)

For plants in the ground, I figure if I can't make a decent, well-drained soil without this kind of product I just won't plant a hosta there. In very sandy soil, in addition to the compost/peat moss/etcetera organic matter, I might toss in some perlite if I have some around for making potting soil. It keeps the soil light and can store some moisture.

We do use the water-thingys in pots sometimes - my wife's area of expertize, I'm afraid. One thing she found was when she tried to "cheat" - plant in a pocket of soil too tiny in some special container, and then tried to make up for the too-rapid drying by putting in some of these pellets ---

the pellets swell up with water - and they can push the dirt and themselves right out of the pot. Soil is not naturally constructed to have relatively tiny particles swell to relatively large glumps of jello and then shrink back to small pellets again.

Overall, given the expense and the aggravation, we've pretty much quit using them...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 6:20AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

that would be an exorbitant expense in my mind ...

but in your zone.. what would happen with all that water capacity.. when the ground froze solid???

though many plants like additional water late into the fall ... many do not like it standing around. ...

i would fear winter rots ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 8:31AM
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jamiedolan(4/5)

What I calculated in terms of cost based on what I read; was that you could use 1 pound of it on about 80 - 1 gallon pots. I was guessing you would use about the same on a small in ground plant. It is about $7 a pound on e-bay.

Though, good question about the standing water and freezing, I may have to do a small scale test and see what happens. But I sure don't want to find a bunch of dead Hosta next spring.

If it worked, It could be a nice option for our house up north where we are often gone for more than a week at a time and it is all sandy soil. -- I'll stick with the old standbys of organic matter and peat for now to be safe.

Thanks

Jamie

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:46PM
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sandykk(z6 MD)

I always use it in the planting hole for my Impatients that are in a little too much sun. It works because I can tell the ones who have it and ones that don't.

For me, I don't think it would help much with the amount of water the hostas require.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 2:55PM
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