Because of their affordability, ease of use and effectiveness, residential customers are using humectants more to help give their plants a leg up against the elements, says Jim Zoppo, president of American Landscape, LLC, the parent company of Sharon View Nursery.

Humectants have long been used in the commercial landscape industry to aid plants in the use, retention and redistribution of moisture, Zoppo says.

“Humectants are in a lot of different products, but in the landscape industry, they are a necessity for water management,” Zoppo says. “Water distribution is becoming increasingly critical because of the environment and the demands on an ever-depleted water supply [for agricultural and home garden needs].”

Relatively new products, such as NutriRoot produced by Arborjet, have gained appeal with home garden enthusiasts.

“I found it’s been a very easy reach to acclimate customers to NutriRoot because it’s simple to use, it’s not very expensive and it works so well. It provides the necessary hydration, it reduces stress in transplants,” Zoppo says. “When we sell trees, shrubs or perennials, we advocate the use of NutriRoot as a companion product to the transplant process. Our own landscape crew uses NutriRoot exclusively.”

NutriRoot can be used when adding a brand new bare root or container plant to a landscape, when transplanting existing plants, or even to help preserve them during a homeowner’s temporary absence. Some customers will apply a humectant to container plants before they go on vacation to help the plants retain moisture levels over an extended period of time.

“Humectants have always been, in my mind, a very important product,” he says. “They spell the difference between a plant being able to thrive or not.”

Some humectants, such as NutriRoot, are combined with nutrients to help give plants an added boost.

“The improvement over the last few years, because of the technology employed by the manufacturer, and the combination of nutrients and humectants in one product, is new,” Zoppo says.

Humectants come in granular or, in the case of NutriRoot, liquid form, which easily dissolves in water.

“It becomes immediately available to plants,” he says. “It allows accelerated, uninterrupted growth.”

Sharon View Nursery currently carries three water management products, and NutriRoot has been part of that trio for the past two years.

“I believe that it has substantially increased the success of transplants,” he says.