- Hydroabsorbent products - the differences
- TerraCottem - how is it different?
- Are all such products safe?
- Water retention capacity
- Water availability
- Water availability
- Pesticide and herbicide use
- Freezing temperatures
- Effect of salts
- Root rot
- Fertilizer absorption
- Use with fertilizers
- Water savings
- Product longevity
- What happens later?
- "Polyacrylamide is toxic.”
False - Although on the exterior one hydroabsorbent polymer may look similar to another, their chemical construction, the physical structure of the network, and especially the cross linking density can be vastly different and will affect how they absorb, store and release their contents, and will determine their toxicity, longevity and suitability for use in growing plants. Caution must be exercised, as many are sodium-based, manufactured principally for use in baby diapers and other sanitary ware, for use as flocculants and for chemical liquid waste disposal, making them unsuitable for use with plants or turf. Unfortunately, some of these products are repackaged and sold for use in horticulture.
The TerraCottem soil conditioning technology simply contains those hydroabsorbent products that have demonstrated the best results on plant growth and water efficiency, in independent efficacy trials carried out on behalf of TerraCottem
Years of testing at the University of Ghent and independent laboratories demonstrate that the best results, over a number of plant growth and water-use efficiency parameters, were achieved with a carefully balanced composition of hydroabsorbent, nutrient and growth-stimulating components. Each TerraCottem component has its positive impact on plant growth but it is above all the synergetic effect of all the product’s scientific balanced components which makes the TerraCottem soil conditioning technology so unique and successful.
With the full backing of an internationally-recognized university, a heritage linked with its initial use in United Nations’ and other humanitarian projects, and a client base on five continents which includes top professionals in the relevant markets, the TerraCottem soil conditioning technology has a credibility rarely matched in the industry.
TerraCottem does not produce for other brands. You will only find the quality and efficiency of the TerraCottem® soil conditioning technology under the TerraCottem brand name
False - Hydroabsorbent polymers all contain a certain quantity of monomer residues from the manufacturing process. These acrylamide and acrylic acid monomers are phytotoxic at levels above 500 ppm. All older hydrogels and approximately half of those currently manufactured contain toxic levels of monomer contamination. The hydroabsorbent products in the TerraCottem soil conditioners have a monomer level below 215 ppm and have been certified to be non-toxic in tests meeting the highest internationally recognized standards, meaning the product will not contaminate plants, soil or ground water.
False - The water retention capacity is not necessarily relevant in terms of performance, as high water retention capacity does not necessarily mean high water availability. While most hydroabsorbent polymers (primarily produced for the diaper and sanitary ware industry) can absorb hundreds of times their own weight in water, they are designed to irreversibly bind the moisture and so compete with the plant roots for the same water. As a result no water is made available to the plant. Additionally, no water retention capacity is absolute. The higher the level of minerals or impurities in the water, the lower the water retention capacity is. Even given the same water quality, when mixed into the ground the water retention capacity will decrease with higher soil pressure.
False - Many hydroabsorbant copolymers do not have the ability to make the water they absorb available to the plant, and, if available, it may only be for a short period of time. The hydrogels incorporated into the TerraCottem mixture do make 97-99% of this water available, for an extended period of time.
False - The hydroabsorbant copolymers in the TerraCottem mixture were chosen for, amongst other things, their ability to absorb, retain and then make water available to plant roots. The hydrogels contained in TerraCottem have absorption tensions which allow plant roots to pick up the water on demand, yet ensure that the hydrogels remain humid over a long period of time and are not dried out by the surrounding soil.
False - The hydroabsorbent components used in the TerraCottem soil conditioners can only absorb cations and anions with a regular, small ion volume. Most benzene-based organic pesticides and herbicides (as well as hydrocarbons, alcohol and other organic solvents) cannot penetrate the polymer structure due to their significantly higher molecular volume (prove this for yourself by adding rubbing alcohol to a spoonful of the mixture and see what happens). For this reason, most benzene-based organic pesticides and herbicides may be used on areas treated with any of the TerraCottem soil conditioners, with no negative effects. Should you have any doubts, test it first by pouring a watery solution of the product over a spoonful of the TerraCottem soil conditioner.
False - The TerraCottem’s copolymers freeze at –2º C, and are therefore not affected by overnight frosts. Freezing the TerraCottem soil conditioners has no detrimental effect on the product, treated soil or plants whatsoever. As TerraCottem’s copolymers freeze at lower temperatures than water in the soil, water remains available at lower temperatures and for a longer period of time, possibly lengthening the growing period by up to several weeks.
Salts, fertilizers and minerals do not decrease the lifespan of any of the TerraCottem soil conditioner, but do have an effect on its water retention capacity.
False - Root rot is often caused by a surplus of water in the growing medium, where poor soil structure prevents the water from draining off or being used effectively by the plant, and limits or prevents oxygen from circulating, eventually asphyxiating the plant roots.
In soil treated with a TerraCottem soil conditioner, water absorbed by the product is not free, but contained within the hydroabsorbent components and released only on plant demand. As plants only absorb the water that they need, the rest remains in the product. These swollen particles open up and aerate the growing medium, preventing compaction and root rot
Yes. The TerraCottem soil conditioners can absorb and retain fertilizers added to the growing medium in which it is mixed.
Customary types and rates of fertilizer may be used on areas treated
with TerraCottem. Water-soluble fertilizers can be absorbed by the product,
reducing their loss by leaching or runoff. After the initial grow-in phase
of the turf or plants, lower rates may be experimented with in order to
find the most economical one.
Cost of Inputs: Clients using the TerraCottem soil conditioning technology report water savings of between 40 – 75%, and fertilizer savings of between 20 – 60%.
Maintenance costs: Time, labour and input costs associated with the replacement of dead plants and the maintenance of areas treated with the TerraCottem soil conditioning technology are between 25 – 75% less than in areas not treated with the product.
Replacement costs: The TerraCottem soil conditioning technology allows a reduction in plant mortality of between 20 – 100%.
The fertilizer starter component and trace amounts of growth stimulating
agent are designed to perform during the initial growth phase after incorporation,
and the slow-release fertilizer component has a 6 - 12 month utility,
depending on the average temperature.
While the different hydroabsorbent products in TerraCottem have high but varying levels of mechanical and biological stability, the longest-lasting components have demonstrated a lifespan of more than eight years in practical applications.
It is the synergy of all of TerraCottem's components which determines
the product's effectiveness in growing media, and which make it a soil
The TerraCottem soil conditioning technology has a neutral pH, and its various components
break down into their constituent parts of minerals and nutrients, ammonia,
carbon dioxide and water, with no residual toxicity.
FALSE. The hydroabsorbant polymers present in the TerraCottem soil conditioners are cross-linked co-polymers of polyacrylamide and polyacrylate. Polyacrylamide is not toxic, but un-polymerized acrylamide is, since the acrylamide monomer is a neurotoxin. Therefore, products containing high acrylamide monomer residue could be of concern. However, the TerraCottem soil conditioners’ third generation hydroabsorbant co-polymers are both manufactured and selected in such a way that the monomer residue after production is negligible and guaranteed to be well below any dangerous levels set by governmental agencies worldwide. And once enclosed in the co-polymer, it is chemically impossible for the acrylamide to be freed from the end structure.
More Growth, Less Water
TerraCottem, Leading soil conditioning technology.