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Click here to see a video showing this effect. This was further demonstrated in the UC Davis grape powdery mildew trials under the supervision of Professor Doug Gubler. See Page 21, Table 1 for results potassium silicate was coded as Exp B. Both spray mixes have eradicant abilities as well as protectant abilities and this is a critical feature in a modern powdery mildew spray programme. It is Biogro certified. Organic growers should note that use of HML Silco is only permitted as an adjuvant with Biogro approved fungicides. Figure 1 shows tomatoes subjected to salt stress and the beneficial effect silicon had on their health.
We also continue to show the benefits of silicon in low foliar accumulator species to both diseases and environmental stress that includes heavy metals and drought tolerance. Please leave us with a couple practical suggestions on how growers can begin capitalizing on our current level of understanding of silicon and start using it to increase their profitability.
Silicon in Agriculture
My best advice would be to just start using it in their growing practice. I would suggest trying products side by side to determine what type works best in their conditions and which gives the best results. These will give a better indication if silicon-addition will benefit their growing system. The more information we share with one another, the more we will be able to understand how to take advantage of this stress-fighting nutrient. Lastly, one of the amazing things about silicon is that you can never add too much for the plants.
For instance, if different varieties of a crop are being grown and some have a higher requirement for silicon than others, all plants can be treated with a higher dose without having to worry about any toxicity in the lower accumulating plants. Since silicon is naturally abundant on earth, plants have evolved elaborate mechanisms to ensure regulation of the nutrient into and throughout the plant at specific times in their life cycle. This means that there are no silicon- toxicity levels.
However, too much soluble-silicon in the growing medium can chelate out other nutrients, such as zinc, and lead to nutrient deficiencies, which has been reported when exceptionally high concentrations of silicon were supplied as weekly drenches. As long as we stay within the recommended rates of the product, this should never be seen. Plant Health December Figure 1. Basil plants subjected to salt stress; top is control, bottom is silicon treated.
Peter: What objectives are you currently studying in your silicon research program? Peter: Thank you Wendy, we appreciate you sharing your extensive silicon experience with us. His career spans four decades as a commercial grower, researcher and consultant. Wendy Zellner is a research associate professor at the University of Toledo.
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