Superabsorbent polymers (hydrogels)

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Evidence suggests that application of superabsorbent polymers (hydrogels) during planting promotes seedling field performance (Ivetić and Devetaković 2016[1]). Polymer increased survival and leaf water potential of Pinus pinea seedlings in field conditions (Pery et al. 1995[2]) and hydrogel combined with mycorrhizal inoculation promoted Picea abies (L.) Karst. resistance to drought stress (Višnjić et al. 2004[3]). An innovative soil conditioner, comprising 23 ingredients including a new complex of hydro absorbent polymers, significantly enhanced tree growth in conditions of poor precipitation and/or thick textured soil with poor water holding capacity (Coello-Gomez et al. 2015[4]). Šijačić-Nikolić et al.[5] (2011) found that application of 5 g of polymer per planting hole increased two-year survival and growth of Pinus nigra and P. sylvestris seedlings. However, an excessive application of hydrogel increased mortality of Pinus sylvestris seedlings (Sarvaš et al 2007[6]). Because contradictory results are reported, it is recommended that growers or planters conduct small trials to determine whether there are benefits to using hydrogels under their specific conditions (Landis and Haase 2012[7]).


  1. Ivetić V, Devetaković J (2016) Reforestation challenges in Southeast Europe facing climate change. Reforesta 1: 178-220. DOI:
  2. Pery R, Save M, Marfa O, Serrano L (1995) The effect of a hydrophilic polymer on plant water status and survival of transplanted pine seedlings. Horttechnology 5: 141–143.
  3. Višnjić Ć, Mekić F, Balić B (2004) Usage of the new techniques for the planting by afforestation of the extreme area. [In Bosnian: Upotreba novih tehnika sadnje sadnica kod pošumljavanja ekstremnih staništa. Radovi Šumarskog fakulteta, Univerziteta u Sarajevu. Br. 1 Knjiga XXXIV, Sarajevo 2004] Works of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Sarajevo, BIH, 1: 57-65.
  4. Coello-Gomez J, Fuentes-Boix C, Pique M (2015) Innovative soil conditioning and mulching techniques for forest restoration in Mediterranean conditions. In: Ivetić V, Stanković D (eds) Proceedings: International conference Reforestation Challenges, 03-06 June 2015, Belgrade, Serbia, pp 201-210.
  5. Šijačić-Nikolić M, Vilotić D, Milovanović J (2011) Effect of polymers on Scots pine (Pinus silvestris L.) аnd Austrian pine (Pinus nigra Arn.) seedling development in afforestation. Global Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 1: 11-18. ISSN 2074-0875.
  6. Sarvaš M, Pavlenda P, Takáčová E (2007) Effect of hydrogel application on survival and growth of Pine seedlings in reclamations. J Forest Sci 53: 204-209.
  7. Landis TD, Haase DL (2012) Applications of hydrogels in the nursery and during outplanting. In: Haase DL, Pinto JR, Riley LE (technical coordinators) National Proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations—2011. Fort Collins (CO): USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Proceedings RMRS-P-68. pp 53-58. Available at: