22 April 2015
The role of silicon in plants has long been ignored, but in recent years, silicon is gaining credibility as the plant mineral Superman. To appreciate the cellular strength that silica provides, just look at your own finger nails. Silica is what makes them tough and strong.
Soil silica makes up over 40% of soil chemistry, but in this form it is not available to the plant. Weathering and microbial action convert soil silica to Soluble Silicon (mono-silicic-acid), the form which is plant available. Soluble silicon is generally required in plant tissue in amounts similar to that of macro nutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur. In some grass and grain crops, soluble silicon is often required at higher levels than the macro nutrients, and may help prevent lodging in cereal crops. Tissue analysis indicates that silicon makes up between 0.2% and 10% of a plants dry weight.
Silicon has many benefits to a plant and has been shown to:
· Impact on plant health by increasing cell wall strength, leading to increased disease resistance, increased insect resistance, more upright growth and increased shoot and root density.
· Reduce phosphorous leaching and increase phosphorous availability.
· Slow plant transpiration rate, thus increasing a plants drought resistance.
· Increase cation exchange capacity of other nutrients making them more available.
But often crops do not gain the benefits due to low availability of plant available soluble silicon.
Lawrieco, recognising the benefits of silicon in plants, now have available a liquid Potassium Silicate complexed with Humic, Fulvic and biostimulants to increase plant uptake. NutriMAX Potassium Silicate consists of 23.5% potassium and 20% silicon as silicate, making this product one of the most concentrated plant silicon products available. Another advantage is that you don’t just receive a good dose of silicon to improve plant and fruit quality, but you also get a good percentage of plant available potassium.
Potassium is a mineral required in large amounts by the plant. It is important for:
· The reproductive stage of any plant.
· The production of plant sugars and fruit sizing.
· A key plant chemical catalyst for over fifty different plant enzymatic reactions.
· Plant stomatal regulation governing water use
· Plant protein building.
Finally, NutriMAX Potassium Silicate is highly alkaline. When applied as a foliar, it can provide a short term plant leaf alkaline ph that can avert fungal inhabitation. It has also been reported that fruit producers who have used potassium silicate as a regular part of their nutrition program have reported an increase in the percentage of fruit achieving first grade pack out.
Biological Agronomist/Field Consultant 0409 822 011