- Enables better plant growth
- Improves the efficiency and value of fertilizer
- Improves water infiltration and retention
- Improves yield
- Retains nutrients for use by plants
- Improves long term soil quality
- Reduces loss of nutrients in soil
- Applying zeolite to the soil can improve its ability to hold nutrients and water
Zeolite is a natural super porous mineral (part of a group of hydrated alumino silicates). It carries a negative charge balanced by freely moving cations with positive charges. this provides an ideal trap for positive cations like nitrogen rich ammonium and potassium which are then released when demanded by plants.
Zeolites have a very open framework with a network of pores giving it a large surface area for trapping and exchanging valuable nutrients.
More efficient fertilizer use
With the current high price of ammonium fertilisers, zeolite can be used to extend their efficiency and performance. Blending fertiliser with zeolite can produce the same yield from less fertiliser applied because of the reduction of volatolization and leaching losses. It is particularly suitable for banding under drip irrigation planting where it will assist water infiltration, distribution, and retention. When fertigation is practiced it will actively hold the nutrients in the root zone.
More efficient water use
Zeolite assists water infiltration and retention in the soil due to its very porous properties and the capillary suction it exerts. Acting as a natural wetting agent, it is an excellent amendment for nonwetting sands and to assist water distribution through soils.
The role of zeolite
Zeolite can hold nutrients in the root zone for plants to use when required. This leads to more efficient use of N and K fertilizers – either less fertilizer for the same yield or the same amount of fertilizer lasting longer and producing higher yields.
An added benefit of zeolite application is that unlike other soil amendments (gypsum and lime) it does not break down over time but remains in the soil to help improve nutrient and water retention permanently. With subsequent applications, the zeolite will further improve the soil’s ability to retain nutrients and produce improved yields.
And zeolite is not acidic. In fact, it is marginally alkaline and its use with fertilizers can help buffer soil pH levels thus reducing the need for lime applications.
• Research into and development of the many biochemical and biomedical applications of zeolites, particularly the naturally occurring species heulandite, clinoptilolite, and chabazite has been ongoing.
• Zeolite-based oxygen concentrator systems are widely used to produce medical-grade oxygen. The zeolite is used as a molecular sieve to create purified oxygen from air using its ability to trap impurities, in a process involving the adsorption of nitrogen, leaving highly purified oxygen and up to 5% argon.
• QuikClot brand hemostatic agent, which is used to stop severe bleeding, contains a calcium-loaded form of zeolite found in kaolin clay.
• In agriculture, clinoptilolite (a naturally occurring zeolite) is used as a soil treatment. It provides a source of slowly released potassium. If previously loaded with ammonium, the zeolite can serve a similar function in the slow release of nitrogen. Zeolites can also act as water moderators, in which they will absorb up to 55% of their weight in water and slowly release it under the plant’s demand. This property can prevent root rot and moderate drought cycles. Clinoptilolite has also been added to chicken food, the absorption of water and ammonia by the zeolite made the birds’ droppings drier, less odoriferous and hence easier to handle.
• Pet stores market zeolites for use as filter additives in aquaria. In aquaria, zeolites can be used to adsorb ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds. However, due to the high affinity of some zeolites for calcium, they may be less effective in hard water and may deplete calcium. Zeolite filtration is used in some marine aquaria to keep nutrient concentrations low for the benefit of corals adapted to nutrient-depleted waters.