R. Sheldrake Jr, O.A. Matkin
In the last decade the use of sphagnum peat moss as well as other types of peat has increased substantially in the production of horticultural crops. Most of the good horticultural sphagnum comes from bogs in Northern European and Scandinavian countries or from Canada and Ireland. In order to reduce the shipping weight of the peat bales, it is necessary to ship the peat as dry as possible. Air-dried peat is extremely difficult to rewet and considerable frustration is therefore encountered by growers. Also, many peat products such as pots and soilless mixes are being used and the wetting problem in these products is a serious concern.

Wetting agents have been employed in various industries to increase reaction rates and facilitate many processes. Wetting agents are substances which are added to surface coatings, water, or oils to increase spreading and penetrating action. Wetting agents belong to a group of a more general class of materials called "surface active agents" hence the term "surfactants". Characteristic of their properties is the ability to lower surface and interfacial tensions.

The initial wetting of peat and peat products is the real problem since they will absorb water quite freely once they are wet. The primary aim of this research was to develop a simple method for evaluation of an unknown wetting agent. This method, hopefully, could be used anywhere in the world and the data should be applicable and comparable everywhere. Such a method must have a twofold function: evaluation of wetting ability and phytotoxicity effects.

This paper presents methods evolved in the course of this investigation and results of trials on the materials used.

Sheldrake Jr, R. and Matkin, O.A. (1971). WETTING AGENTS FOR PEAT MOSS. Acta Hortic. 18, 37-42
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.18.3