Soil Amendment

In many parts of the world food security is being affected due to the declining quality and quantity of soil resources and the adverse impacts of climate change. To continue feeding the growing population, soil degradation is a key issue which requires an urgent solution. In this context farming with natural zeolites have garnered great attention.

The practices farmers use for growing crops can increase or decrease harmful climate emissions. Environmentally friendly farming can help solve the problem by trapping harmful greenhouse gasses in the soil, which will improve the quality of the soil while offsetting dangerous emissions. Additionally, while nitrogen stimulates plant growth, nitrogen fertilizers are a major cause of soil and water source contamination through soil leaching and overland surface runoff  – up to 70% of nitrogen contained in fertilizers is lost to the environment. Utilizing zeolite reduces nitrate leaching by inhibiting the nitrification of ammonium to nitrate and through zeolites ability to hold up to 60% of its weight in water leaching and surface runoff is reduced.

Quality crops start with healthy soil. Healthy soil is powered by zeolite. Zeolite added to your soil will increase crop yield and save money through the usage of less water, the reduction of fertilizer requirements and the reduction of runoff and leaching. Overall, the ultimate goal is to increase crop yields while improving overall farm efficiency in order to provide continued sustainable growth for your farm operation. Zeolites can yield some impressive results with respect to faster germination times and growth rates, increased plant size and crop yields, as well as reduced fertilizer and water requirements. Zeolite is 100% natural for organic operations and when composted with manure, it becomes a natural fertilizing system. Once zeolite is introduced to your soil, unlike other soil amendments, such as lime, zeolite does not break down over time, but remains in the soil providing benefits that will reduce costs and improve farmland soils for generations.

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Benefits of Using Zeolites as a Soil Amendment

Zeolites high porosity; honeycomb, molecular sieve structure; and high cation exchange capacity are highly relevant to agronomy and soil science. These capabilities combined with zeolites negative charge allows zeolite to perform ionic chemical exchanges with beneficial liquids and particles in the soil, trapping them inside the honeycomb structure thereby creating a powerful, infused mineral. This powerfully infused mineral, when mixed with soil, becomes strategically positioned in the growth zone and then works collaboratively with the plant allowing those beneficial nutrients to be rereleased when required enabling the plant to grow optimally.

Water retention and nutrient efficiency

Zeolites unique characteristics allow it to absorb water and adsorb nutrients. Zeolite can hold up to 60% of its weight in water. The water and nutrients are trapped in the porous, honeycomb structure where they are held in the growth zone accessible by the plant. The nutrients do not become water soluble. The zeolite becomes a natural fertilizer and is known as an ‘intelligent fertilizer’ due to its ability to regulate the release of these nutrients to the soil. Zeolite effectively holds the water and nutrients in the root zone until the plant is ready to utilize them. The availability of a timely supply of nutrients improves the overall strength and performance of the plants. Unlike soil amendments, such as lime, zeolite does not break down over time, but remains in the soil to improve nutrient retention. Therefore, its addition to the soil may significantly reduce the costs associated to water application. and nutrients costs by effectively regulating the beneficial nutrients in the root zone.

Fertilizer reduction and efficient utilization

In agriculture grow operations zeolite is widely used as a slow release carrier of fertilizer. Zeolite is an all natural product that improves fertilizer quality and productivity. Zeolite can help to reduce fertilizer application requirements by using an ion exchange at the molecular level to draw in fertilizer and intelligently release it as the plant needs it. This intelligent usage requires less fertilizer to be applied thereby saving cost. It, also has the added benefit of helping to minimize the amount of fertilizer that leaches out through the soil or water runoff. This promotes good environmental stewardship of the land by reducing pollution brought on by fertilizers leaching to the groundwater or running off into surface water sources.

Increased aeration

The stable, porous, high surface area, honeycomb structure of natural zeolite helps to keep soil well aerated. Once blended into soil it creates space for root aeration. This prevents soil compaction thereby increasing the infiltration of oxygen which is essential for optimal plant growth.

Improved soil structure

Zeolite improves soil structure by combining its high cation exchange capacity with its affinity for ammonia and potassium. These properties allow zeolite to buffer soil and prevent the toxicity that is often caused by the buildup of ammonia. Also, zeolites affinity to heavy metals and select toxins allows it to capture and hold these harmful plant growth inhibiters. In free form, the plant has no other option but to adsorb heavy metals. By introducing zeolite to the soil, the heavy metals and toxins are attracted and captured so the plant does not have to take on these growth inhibiting compounds. Because zeolite is not acidic, its use with fertilizers can buffer soil pH levels, which reduces the need for lime applications.

Due to these properties zeolite is beneficial in terms of economic and environmental factors.