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Water Crystals - Yes, No?

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Araich starts with ...
Water Absorbent Polymers (commonly called crystals) are all the rage, but are so new, can we trust them?

I've repeatedly read how they can store water over dry periods and slowly release it to their surrounds.

Is it not the case that they could also absorb heavy rain events and soak up pooling water in poor draining sites? They're commonly added to sandy soil but what about clay? Their expansion and contraction alone could be worth it to ease compaction.

My own experience is limited to 3 lemon scented gums, planted 4 months ago in gravel. They were planted with a heavy application of (Brunnings) crystals and are booming.
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Araich
Melbourne
5th January 2010 8:08am
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Roch says...
I would not use water crystals in clay soil. But I have used them when I laid the turf. I saw somewhere that active carbon is good as it stores nutrients/minerals and releases slowly, compared to crystals that only stores water.
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Roch1
Lynbrook, VIC
5th January 2010 12:28pm
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amanda says...
Hi Araich - interesting point! I use them in my veggie patch but find they don't "last" very long for some reason. I have tried them in pot plants but they encouraged soggy roots that sensitive things didn't like.
Gum trees will take any water you can give them - probably not a representative species for validating crystal use.
What about bean bag beans in the planting hole? They are light and airy but don't soak up water.
There must be something out there that can be used...thinking caps needed! :-)
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
5th January 2010 12:41pm
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