What’s the Big Deal with Silicon?

2016 Summer
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Printable PDF (1.2M)

ISP Recently released two new products containing plant available silicon.  The products SiMag 58 and SiGuard are designed to enhance levels of silicon, promoting a number of plant functions.  After oxygen, Silicon (Si) is the most abundant element in the earth’s crust, but very little of what is found in soil is in a form plants can utilize.  Therefore, we have created products that contain highly available forms of Si and are easy for you to apply.

What does silicon do in plants

Si is not currently considered either a major or micronutrient, yet it is a beneficial nutrient in plant biology.  All plants take up silicon and use it in the construction of cell walls which greatly contribute to a plants structural strength.  Increasing available (soluble) Si directly increases the amount deposited in cell walls.  It then becomes part of the wall matrix; making them stronger.  In addition to this structural role, Si helps to protect plants from both insect attack, and specific diseases, plus aids the plants ability to withstand environmental stress.

Specific benefits from increased silicon nutrition:

  • Directly stimulates plant growth and yields.
  • Can counteract the negative effects of excessive N.
  • Suppresses plant diseases caused by bacteria and fungi. This includes helping manage powdery mildew on cukes, pumpkins and other cucurbits.
  • Suppresses stem borers, spider mites, and various leaf hoppers. While still a work in progress Si applications should help to suppress Western Flower Thrips as well.
  • Alleviates a number of abiotic stresses such as lodging of small grains, drought, temperature extremes and chemical stresses such as high salt levels and nutrient imbalances.

Are you or have you been Si deficient?

It’s difficult to look at a crop and say that it is Si deficient.  Increased lodging and susceptibility to powdery mildew could be one indicator.  Contact your laboratory to see if they are able to include Si levels in your test results.

Applying SiMag58 and SiGuard

  • SiMag58 is designed to provide highly available magnesium chelate plus a good dose of potassium silicate. It will assist tomato, pepper, cucumber and melon growers in maintaining Mg levels far beyond what Epsom Salt (MgSO4) products can do, while also helping increase potash and silicon levels for enhanced growth and plant protection.  Apply it foliarly at 1 teaspoon/gallon every 10 days and/or (you can do both) through your fertigation system at 8-12 ounces/application every 10 to 14 days.
  • SiGuard is 84% highly soluble silicon. It is specifically designed to fulfill all of the functions described above.  Foliar applications will provide enhanced insect/disease protection, and fertigation applications will greatly increase Si that plants move into the cell walls.

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