This is the perfect time of year to learn why wetting agents (soil surfactants) are invaluable tools in modifying how soils and water interact. Originally used to mitigate localized dry spot problems in turf, new research offers insight into soil water repellency including when it develops; how it may impact infiltration; and low and rootzone water reserves.

This research has increased our understanding of how these compounds influence not only water use efficiency, but rootzone nitrogen retention and plant uptake, as well as broader aspects of the interactions happening in the rhizosphere. Recent case studies will demonstrate strategies SFMs can employ to exploit wetting agents beyond traditional uses.


Jack O'Donnell


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Stan Kostka, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar
Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Kostka is a globally recognized leader in the development of compounds and products to modify the rhizosphere and enhance soil-plant-water relations. He has spent more than 25 years leading industry discovery and technology development programs with the goal of understanding how surfactants and other compounds can be used to manage soil water repellency, to improve water use, increase crop productivity, and enhance performance of input chemistries in turfgrass, ornamentals, and agricultural crops.

Stan received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Massachusetts, a MS in Plant Science from the University of Connecticut, and a BA in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He also has advanced training in business and technology management from the Pennsylvania State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University.

Mike Fidanza, Ph.D.
Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences
Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Fidanza has held a research and teaching appointment at Penn State’s Berks Campus in Reading, PA since 2000. He is the Director of Penn State's Center for the Agricultural Sciences and a Sustainable Environment, and was recently recognized as Fellow in the American Society of Agronomy. Dr. Fidanza teaches undergraduate courses in turfgrass science, turfgrass pesticides, soil science, botany, plant ecology, as well as a graduate course on Penn State's World Campus in turfgrass physiology. His research focus is turfgrass ecology, the translational exploration and evaluation of plant health products, soil surfactants, seed technology, biostimulants, and cultural practices in turfgrass ecosystems, as well as the biology and ecology of fairy ring disease in turfgrass.

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