A UF/IFAS professor shared the benefits of silicon in fertilizers for citrus at a citrus workshop earlier in the year.

Did you know that silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and that there are benefits to using silicon in fertilizers in citrus? UF/IFAS Assistant Professor Mohammad Adnan Shahid shared the benefits of silicon at the Citrus Water and Nutrient Management Workshop, according to a Citrus Industry article. See highlights below.

Silicon in Fertilizers for Citrus

The article shared the following points concerning the benefits of silicon in fertilizers for citrus:

  • In 2012, silicon was categorized as a plant “beneficial substance” by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials.
  • “It is also approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute.”
  • Shahid said, “It can be beneficial for both fresh and processed citrus production, because it improves yield by increasing fruit size and number, and it strengthens the root system resulting in improved nutrient and water-use efficiency…”
  • He also said, “Based on our research so far and known literature, it could be most beneficial in inducing tolerance to abiotic stresses such as salinity, heat and cold, and biotic factors (pest and disease management).”
  • “A study conducted in Columbia demonstrated that silicon applications (foliar, soil and foliar + soil) reduced ACP populations by as much as 60% compared to the control (no silicon).”
  • “In other crops, silicon applications have been proven to help plants withstand drought.“

Field tests have been ongoing, including a “on-farm trial in Perry, Florida, [that] illustrated the cold-protection benefit silicon can provide citrus by reducing defoliation in the trees treated with silicon. Shahid is planning further research.

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