I wonder if anyone has experience using oxygenated water to water their garden.

I have deep clay with a bit of topsoil that I've been amending. But that can only do so much. My fruit trees have shallow roots and lawn chook run become saturated quickly. Apart from all the expensive options I've just read about using oxygenated water subsurface irrigation.

There's a fairly new product for home gardeners for the hose, a Pure Rain brand water oxygenating watering wand. There's no reviews of this product by real people and the only use of hand made water oxygenation I've seen is for ponds.

Does oxygenated water (using a venturi) hand wand or similar home made device provide the benefits for soil and plants as the "oxygated" subsurface broadacre irrigation?


Is this "oxygenated water" meant to help with clay? I guess I'm having trouble working it out.

Most water has oxygen dissolved in it. Obviously you want to add oxygen if you have animals such as fish living in it; but at the other end of the spectrum "oxygenated bottled drinking water" is junk science (the kind of stuff they make fun of in the inside back cover of "New Scientist").

In the garden, anoxic water conditions can definitely occur. For example, if you have stagnant water sat at the base of a plant pot, it will go anoxic (all the oxygen is "used up"). When you empty the pot out, it will smell sulphurous. Anoxic conditions are generally considered bad. This is where the chemistry is "reduction" - the opposite of oxidation. One change in chemistry is that stray sulphur (eg from decomposition) instead of being oxidised turns into Hydrogen Sulphide (the sulphurous/bad egg smell) or even Iron Sulphide (iron pyrites - aka Fools Gold) - yes I've heard of the latter occurring on an agricultural scale (12ft or so below the Fens, Norfolk, UK).

So if you have anoxic conditions and stagnant water, yes do what you can to get some oxygen in there. Aerating the soil and draining the excess water would be a good start. Watering with fresh water rather than stagnant water is also good.

If you don't have these conditions, then I'm not sure what an aerating hose will achieve.

  • New Scientist is not peer reviewed, so nothing to brag about there. As I said I have deep clay soil with a bit of topsoil. I'm trying to figure out a way to improve the deep clay so that my fruit trees and even vegies grow better, without adding another metre of topsoil on top. Since the subsoil doesn't drain well, neither does the topsoil. Increasing oxygen in the deep clay would not only help the plants but also the land itself, upon which our house rests. – Chris Sep 3 '12 at 22:57
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    I think you need to get humus in there to break up the clay. The oxygen isn't going to do much at all to break it up. No short cuts. re. New Scientist: It might not be peer reviewed, but it is far better than just about every newspaper going, and a lot of so-called gardening experts. And my point (Oxygenated drinking water is junk science) still stands. – winwaed Sep 4 '12 at 12:52
  • Having finally improved my vegie beds with sharp sand and crusher dust after years of adding loads of composts and manures, I'm afraid adding humus and other organic matter to heavy clay does not improve it to any degree. It still remains wet in winter and dries out quickly in summer. The organic matter "burns" up quickly and back to structureless soil by mid-summer. Organic matter is good for soil that already has some structure. Water authorities use ozone to sterilize drinking water supply. Aerating aquariums must be junk science also? There are snake-oil salesmen in every industry. – Chris Sep 4 '12 at 23:32
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    Ozone and oxygen are different of course. Re. Aquariums, read what I said in the second paragraph. – winwaed Sep 5 '12 at 11:55
  • i've since done a little test with a nugget of deep sticky clay. it doesn't disperse at all in plain tap water. this by the way is an indicator that gypsum won't help. Anyway, I've added a good dash of h2o2 to some water in a glass with the dense nugget of said clay. amazingly it started dispersing, with tiny bits of clay coming off in every direction. I know this is not a proper scientific experiment but at least an initial proof of concept or so. I eneded up with half the clay turning into a chocolate color solution and sediment. pretty impressive and quick dispersal of clay I must say. – Chris Sep 19 '12 at 4:18

no, it isn't going to make any kind of measurable difference, as soon as the water is out of the hose it is going to come to an equilibrium very quickly, the factors that effect where the eventual equilibrium are partial pressure of 02 (pretty constant) and the temperature of the water (gases have a negative solubility curve, ie. the hotter they are the less solute will dissolve).

some things that could keep it from coming to equilibrium would be high volume to surface area ratio... and stagnation severe enough that the oxygen is used before it can diffuse to the interior of the body...

as for the soil example ... whatever happens at the nozzle will basically be modulated toward the equilibrium.... so if the water had normally 0 turbidity vs 100+% saturation the effect of spraying the water and having it hit the ground will make them practically the same by the time they interface with the sub-soil.

not a super technical explanation, but hopefully enough.

  • I guess I'll have to get a oxygen test kit to see what the oxygen saturation of tapwater is. Supposedly the oxygen saturation isn't that great in tapwater, so that iron and manganese (in particular) don't fall out of solution and foul pipes and devices. Pool or pond water that isn't constantly agitated tends towards anoxia, so it's probably not as simple or quick for oxygen to saturate water at nominal pressure. There have been promising agricultural studies adding h2o2 or just o2 into soil..but not the kind of convincing results i'd like. – Chris Sep 3 '12 at 23:53
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    Adding H2O2 is adding a basically a free radical a much stronger oxidizer, ponds lean to anoxia because of decay processes. – Grady Player Sep 5 '12 at 1:03

'Oxygenated water' for watering your garden is, as has been explained by others, pure snake oil. I have a subsurface of the most horrible clay but have success using the traditional method of spreading lots of Gypsum every year.

The problem with clay is that it is composed of very small particles. These all pack in together tightly making it difficult for water and oxygen to penetrate between them, hence the poor drainage etc. Gypsum works by binding the small clay particles into larger clumps with don't stack together so closely, allowing water and air to penetrate. It doesn't work immediately but if you apply it consistently over time it will considerably improve a clay based soil.

You should be able to buy Gypsum (possibly under some strange branding) at any garden shop.

  • Thanks for the response. As has been reported by many in-situ studies, gypsum only works on specific clays and the amounts required are impractical for deep clay. The "miracle gypsum" type writeups are another brand of snake oil. I have been adding gypsum, dolomite and lime over the years. It's done nothing for deep clay. – Chris Sep 14 '12 at 1:38

There's a study on adding hydrogen peroxide to the soil. Here is the link. I'm not sure I understand it well enough to summarize it.

  • thanks. i've read this before my initial posting. These are the things i'm referring to. I was hoping someone had done some of these things in a home garden setting. Since i've dug up some deep clay, I might add h2o2 a few times to see what happens to the clay. – Chris Sep 14 '12 at 1:31
  • Remember to use the food grade kind of hydrogen peroxide (diluted) if you use it. The regular 3% kind can potentially contain toxic stabilizers (such as organophosphates and/or heavy metals). You can contact the manufacturer if you want to know what they add to it. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Dec 5 '14 at 3:06

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