In agriculture, vermiculite is used as a sorbent, meliorant,
fertilizer, radioprotector, and mulch. One of the reasons why swollen
vermiculite is used in agriculture is its unique sorption properties.
The capacity of water absorption of 100g of swollen vermiculite is 400g
(ml) of water. Owing to its highly porous composition, granules of vermiculite
momentarily absorb moisture and fertilizer, withhold and give them up
gradually. Thus, the introduction of vermiculite in soil improves its
water-physical properties (increases porosity, capillary and whole specific
retention of moisture by soil). Vermiculite is used for soil of any mechanical
composition; it is especially effective on light sand soil and heavy loam
It is applied in mixture with a whole mineral fertilizer (nitrogen-phosphorus
and potassium ones with ratio 1:1:1), which ensures:
- the increase of fertilizer efficiency 1.5-2 times
- the best regime of water preservation
- the reduction of nitrate pollution
- the blocking of radio nuclides and heavy metals
- the upgrading of plant yield.
Vermiculite is used for mulching of near-stalk circles of fruit trees;
here the expenditure is 8-10 l per 1 sq. m, for shrubs - 5-6 l per 1 sq.
m. Swollen vermiculite is also used in greenhouses at the cultivation
of various plants without soil (hydroponics).
When storing using vermiculite, vegetables and fruits preserve high consumer
properties. Vermiculite absorbs products of gas exchange and prevents
the processes of decay. It is possible to use it both for container storage
and in bulk. The expenditure of vermiculite from 1 to 3% from the mass
of products reduces waste 2-3 times.
At the propagation by cuttings, a substrate from vermiculite and peat
is used with ratio 1:1. The root system of cutting in this case is formed
more developed. Swollen vermiculite is employed for seed preparation.
Swollen vermiculite is recommended for use with an objective of increasing
yield for seedlings. The addition of vermiculite in various soil mixtures
allows to reach a constant value of moisture. In this case around the
root system a microclimate is formed, which allows to lower the percent
of plant root decay disease.