Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Last updated: November 22, 2021

What Does Reverse Osmosis (RO) Mean?

Osmosis is a scientific term that refers to the diffusion or flow of liquid that moves from a semipermeable membrane into an area of higher and denser solute concentration. This equalizes the concentration of solute on both ends.

In gardening, the process of reverse osmosis (RO), which is typically done through a specialized filtration system, is used to make water clean and pure so it's better suited for irrigation. In fact, reverse osmosis removes all the dissolved solids in one's water supply, which encourages the plants to absorb more nutrients from the soil, rather than any harmful particles in the water supply.


Maximum Yield Explains Reverse Osmosis (RO)

In order for reverse osmosis to take place, first there must be enough external pressure applied in a direction opposite to the natural osmotic pressure, which forces the water through a selectively permeable membrane (filter).

First developed back in late 1950, a reverse osmosis filtration system can easily produce hundreds of gallons of clean water per day. However, some waste water is natural with this irrigation system. In some cases, every one gallon of pure water can yield around three gallons of waste. As a result, some gardeners can fit their reverse osmosis system with a special apparatus to minimize waste. While this takes the waste water ratio down to 1.1 from 1.3, these apparatuses have been known to reduce the membranes’ lives.

Gardeners opting for reverse osmosis should also treat their pure water with magnesium and calcium supplements to avoid shocking the plants while ensuring a stable pH level. Hydroponic gardeners should especially be concerned with their water quality and outfitting their systems with RO water filtration equipment.


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