Born Out Of Necessity

Water is the most abundant substance on earth, and ironically it’s our most threatened resource.

What started as a call to find an immediate solution for dust control, turned into the discovery of a unique technology for landscape and agricultural water conservation.

The Long & Dusty Road

Another drought had set in and an Australian chemist began a search for an answer to an immediate problem. What he discovered is a unique technology with the potential for large scale water conservation.

Australia had recently outlawed the use of petroleum-based products for roadway dust control, and a severe drought had turned dirt mine roads into giant dust clouds. In order to protect vehicle engines and maintain visibility, roads had to be watered multiple times per day, putting a significant strain on water resources. With a background in industrial coatings and previous work within the mining industry, Ronald Hansen was called on to help find a solution.

As an environmentally conscience chemical engineer, Ron turn to food grade hygroscopic humectants: ingredients commonly used to retain moisture in foods and cosmetic products. What he discovered was a means by which the dirt roads could be treated to capture evaporating moisture vapor and bind that moisture on the soil surface. This process kept the dirt roads nominally damp, reducing dusting for an extended period between water cycles.

The product, known today as GelTrak, was refined, packaged and marketed for this singular purpose. End of story? Not quite. After experiencing the successful use of hygroscopic humectants for dirt roads, Ron speculated that the effect of converting moisture vapor back into liquid water within the soil may have significant benefits for turfgrasses and other plants. He was right, and a new concept developed.

Our First Test on Turfgrass

After six weeks of drought, the treated section of Ron’s home lawn maintained it’s health and color as the remaining turfgrass turned brown and began to die. Hydretain was born. 

In the early 90’s, Ecologel President, Rick Irwin, was working with Hansen’s industrial coating products here in the U.S. when he decided to take Hydretain to the University of Florida for research.  

"The water only plants wilted in 5 days, whereas the Hydretain treated plants went 9 to 11 days before wilting. We have never seen another water management product that came close to doubling the time a plant could go without water."

Dr. James E. Barrett | UF/IFAS Research

Hydretain Today

As Ecologel’s flagship product, Hydretain is at the forefront of the company’s mission to provide innovative technologies that help maintain exceptional quality while promoting the responsible management of natural resources. Today, the product is used to maintain healthy plants while reducing water use for a number of different industries including:

  • Golf & Sports Turf
  • Landscape Installation
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Nursery & Greenhouse
  • Farm & Agriculture
  • Retail Garden Centers

Hydretain for you!

Hydretain is available in both liquid and granular product options. Click below to find Hydretain locally or shop online.

Questions? Answers!

We are happy to discuss how you can start using Hydretain and answer any questions you may have.

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