The drought is top of mind this year for anyone in the turf business. With hosepipe bands in the south and possible drought orders coming down the pipe the outlook isn't great to keep pitches green and safe over the hot dry summer months.
Many products claim to be a silver bullet when growing grass with less water, but most come up short when delivering on this promise. It may now be time to put those hosepipes into semi-retirement. A totally new product to the UK marketplace, Zeba is a starch-based polymer that improves soil moisture retention and water availability to the roots of the grass plant. Zeba is biodegradable over 12 to 16 months and is an environmentally safe product made from corn. It absorbs more than 400 times its weight in water, retains and releases it when the grass plant needs it most.
Zeba cuts watering needs for one year or more.
A patented product developed in the USA, Zeba has been extensively tested in the agricultural and horticultural markets and repeatedly delivers on claims for water retention and water availability to the root system.
By capturing water as it enters the soil, Zeba particles hold moisture in the soil againstgravity, preserving it for plant use and not allowing it to leach away through the soil. The Zeba hydro gel slowly releases just the right amount of captured moisture to plant roots in response to capillary action (suction) of the root hairs. The result is a reduction in the total gross amount of water needed for plant growth and development, while still furnishing the plant with the net amount of water needed for growth.
Zeba also reduces plant stress caused by heat and limited water availability, allowing the grass plant to devote more energy to the production of a stronger root system, greater biomass and more consistent plant quality across the entire pitch.
The stress level for plants typically begins to rise as leaf moisture decreases and remains high until the next irrigation cycle. This undulating stress-cycle curve is lessened with Zeba because plants have access to a constant source of moisture, for healthier plant growth and development. Moisture levels were measured with a pressure bomb in the field. Source: TRACS, 1997.
In addition to water absorbency, Zeba absorbs and releases water-soluble fertilizer and chemicals in the same manner that it absorbs and releases water, bringing these cationic nutrients into the hydrated Zeba complex for direct exchange into the root structure. This allows fertiliser and pesticides to be absorbed and released in the same concentration as they exist in the soil, reducing the total amount needed.
As a soil enhancer, Zeba contains potassium as its positive ion instead of sodium, which is used in other water-retaining product. Independent tissue testing shows evidence that the hydro gel releases a small, highly beneficial amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to plants in the early stages of growth. Because it is starch-based, Zeba particles are an attractive food source for soil microorganisms. Over time, the microbes consume the hydro gel molecules; creating a richer soil environment than before Zeba was added.
Zeba may not relegate hosepipes to the horticultural museums. But as a soil amendment it is a unique and powerful tool that will help Groundsmen and Greenkeepers maximize soil moisture and inputs. This next-generation technology provides an environmentally friendly, cost-effective way to capture moisture and water-soluble inputs.
Zeba is distributed in the UK byLogic Alliance UK Limited www.logicalliance.co.uk 0791 736 1294
More information on Zeba is now available in the Pitchcare Store