“‘Solid Water’ With Air Pockets” for Watering Trees

Newly planted trees need 2-5 years of watering to grow back the lost roots during the transplanting process for farm-grown trees. Container-grown trees need similar time to be weaned from the irrigation system. Different watering methods can be used. But all methods will have to deal with the reality: Plant Available Water (PAW) as the limiting factor. No matter how much water one places on the ground, the amount that eventually becomes available to plants is between the field capacity (FC) and permanent wilting point (PWP), both are intrinsic properties of a certain soil composition and texture. Water above FC depletes air from roots and causes damages to plants with time. Water below PWP cannot be extracted by plant roots. So small amount and frequent watering is preferred for any irrigation services, which becomes labor intensive or unreliable.

A solution is “‘Solid Water’ With Air Pockets” (SWAP). It is the water above FC, but the presence of air pockets prevents overwatering problems. Because SWAP slowly releases water when soil dries via osmosis, it requires much less frequent watering. Instead of simply releasing water to the soil, osmosis is mutual process so it stabilizes the soil moisture. A field study in the road median of Richmond VA showed the stabilization of soil moisture with the use of natural rainfall. It eventually lead to a live versus dead difference compared to the trees with watering bags, which is a standard operation of the city.

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