Advantages of natural zeolite in gardening


First you need to find out what zeolites are.
The name “zeolite” comes from two Greek words: “ceo”, which means “to boil” and “lithos” – “stone”. So zeolite is a stone that “boils”. Zeolites are really able to swell and swell at elevated temperatures. But in everyday life, we are interested in its other properties. First, the ability to absorb and release water depending on the ambient temperature and air humidity. Secondly, their ion exchange activity, because zeolites release, depending on the conditions, and then reabsorb various substances.

Yelena Nikolaeva,
graduate agronomist,
landscape designer.

The main directions of using zeolites:

agriculture (crops, livestock, poultry),
environmental protection (purification of water in natural and artificial reservoirs, cleaning of ponds for fish breeding, purification of drinking water and wastewater, purification of soil contaminated with radionuclides),
greening and landscaping,
industry and construction.
Of course, we are primarily interested in the valuable properties of zeolites that can be used in agriculture. In crop cultivation, zeolite chips are used, which is produced by grinding and fractionating zeolite tuff. They are successfully used both in the open field and in greenhouses. Let’s analyze its good features in more detail.

  1. Zeolite improves the physical properties of the soil – aeration, moisture capacity, reduces acidity.
    This means that in compositionally heavy, poorly structured clay soils, due to the presence of zeolite, water permeability and aeration (air permeability) increase. And therefore, from the point of view of mineral composition, fertile clay soils become ideal for plant crops. In contrast, in a light sandy soil, the presence of zeolite increases moisture, i.e. the ability to retain moisture. It absorbs and stores a significant amount (up to 40-70% of its weight) of water in the root zone of plants and gives it back as the soil gradually dries out. This property makes zeolite indispensable in the creation of gardens, lawns, flower beds in sandy soils, as it optimizes the watering regime and saves water.
  2. Zeolite is a good fertilizer because it enriches the soil with valuable minerals – sodium Na, potassium K, calcium Ca, silicon Si.
  3. Zeolite acts as a battery and controller of the movement of elements in the soil. According to statistics, from 35 to 50% of mineral fertilizers are leached from the root zone of plants and enter groundwater and soil, polluting them. Thanks to their ion exchange properties, zeolites absorb and retain nutrients in the root zone. Nitrogen leaching is reduced 4-5 times. In general, fertilizer uptake by plants improves by 20-40%. This makes it possible to reduce the cost of fertilizers and prevent groundwater pollution.
  4. Zeolite prevents toxic substances and radionuclides from entering plants. The presence of zeolites in the soil helps to reduce the degree of its nitrogen nitrification, as a result of which the nitrate content in fruits and vegetables decreases significantly. In addition, zeolite absorbs radionuclides and heavy metals in the soil, transforms them into a bound form, and thus prevents plant intoxication.
  5. Zeolites make plant chemical protection agents (pesticides) more effective and allow to reduce the number of sprayings. Thanks to their porous structure, zeolites accumulate plant protection chemicals and participate in the ion exchange process. It allows you to protect plants against fungal diseases, insects and rodents for a long time, fight against viruses and harmful bacteria that attack plants, allows you to spray less often with pesticides, reducing costs and reducing damage to the environment.
  6. Zeolite promotes microbial activity and soil health. Under the influence of zeolite, which optimizes air and water humidity, enriches the soil with minerals and prevents soil pollution, the activity of useful microorganisms in the soil will increase; thereby increasing its health and fertility.
  7. Zeolite improves crop quality and ecological safety.
    Naturally, plants growing in zeolite-enriched soil produce a higher quality and more environmentally friendly crop. There are technologies based on the use of zeolite, which allow obtaining absolutely ecologically clean agricultural products. Manure-saturated zeolite incorporated into the soil becomes a long-acting complex fertilizer with an extended duration of action, the actual effect of which lasts for several years, depending on the characteristics of the soil and farming methods. Crop products grown using this organic-enriched zeolite are absolutely clean and safe.
  8. Against the background of the use of zeolite, crop yields increase.
    All the above-mentioned positive changes in the soil resulting from the interaction with zeolite contribute to the fact that plants develop a strong root system and vegetative mass, they become more resistant to adverse weather conditions and get less sick. Depending on the soil characteristics, the application of zeolite increases the yield by 17-30% in the first year and by 20-50% in the second.
  1. Zeolite is a universal material that benefits all plant groups. The average consumption of zeolite as a plant fertilizer for vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, paprika, potatoes, etc.), berries (strawberries, raspberries, currants) is 25-50 kg/100 sq.m. When planting fruit trees and decorative trees, the rate of use is 1-3 kg per planting hole, and when planting fruit trees and decorative shrubs (including roses, jasmines, lilacs, etc.) – 0.5-1.0 kg per plant. In the case of growing container plants, the use of zeolite is – 1 kg per 4 kg of soil. In the case of installing a lawn, the material consumption is 25-30 kg/100 sq.m.
  2. Zeolite is an excellent substrate for greenhouses. The mixture of peat and zeolite increases the yield of vegetables by up to 60%, the vitamin content of vegetables increases by 70% and the amount of nitrates is reduced by 62%. It also improves the growing conditions of vegetable and flower seedlings. Seedlings develop faster, become strong and healthy. Consumption: 1 part zeolite to three parts soil.
    Thus, the use of zeolite is economically and ecologically completely justified and deserves its application in a wide range of land use, starting from large professional agricultural production structures and ending with amateur backyard gardens. The unique properties of this mineral allow solving the most pressing problems at the same time. First of all, it gives a significant increase in the yield in vegetable growing, horticulture, crop growing, ensuring a high-quality and ecologically valuable harvest. Second, it helps maintain and improve soil fertility and environmental health. Third, it allows you to save costs and labor.

Natural zeolites were discovered by Swedish mineralogist Kronstedt in 1756. Today, reserves of these minerals have been found in many countries: France, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, as well as our neighboring countries in Russia and Ukraine, where the unique properties of minerals are widely used in many sectors of the economy. Artificially synthesized zeolites are also used in the majority of scientifically and technically developed countries for the needs of the petrochemical industry. Zeolites are now available at a good price in Latvia.

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