Despite well-documented and comprehensive research into silicon and plant health, it’s not routinely used.

Silicon is an effective treatment for alleviating plant stress and promoting plant growth and development, but despite a wealth of information connecting silicon and plant health, and its effects on abiotic and biotic stress, it’s not commonly used, according to a Growing Produce article. A group of researchers reviewed over 150 studies on silicon, and compiled information on silicon’s efficacy as a plant protectant and fertilizer. See the details below.

Silicon and Plant Health

According to the article, silicon has the following efficacies:

  • “For any plant disease, a minimum silicon concentration in plant tissues is needed to suppress it… Once that level of Si in plant tissues has been obtained, disease suppression will increase proportionally as the concentration of this element increases in plant tissues.”
  • “The silicon supply to the plant roots must be continuous or the disease-suppressing effects will be reduced or disappear. Only when applying silicon to roots will this element change plant responses against pathogen infection, pest attack, and even abiotic stress at the physiological, biochemical, and molecular levels.”
  • “Silicon will impact many components of host resistance…Studies to date have shown increased levels of resistance to foliar and soilborne diseases by silicon in a number of plants…”
  • “Disease suppression by silicon can be as effective as fungicides.”

The article lists reasons why the connection between silicon and plant health is not utilized. They include:

  • “Lack of consistent information on what levels of accessible silicon in the soil are limited or too low.
  • No universally accepted soil test for gauging the amounts of soluble silicon have been calibrated for many agronomic or horticultural crops.
  • Most analytical laboratories do not routinely assay plant tissue for silicon and current standard tissue digestion procedures used would render silicon insoluble.
  • Many scientists still state that plants are either silicon accumulators or non-accumulators, when in reality all plants accumulate some silicon in their plant tissues.
  • Silicon is not recognized as being necessary for plant development.
  • Lack of economic studies to show the benefits of applying silicon.
  • Lack of extension outreach to present the positive benefits of silicon to producers and growers.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.