See the takeaways of UF/IFAS research into using potassium and silicon for cold hardiness in citrus.

Growers use microsprinkler irrigation as a freeze-protection strategy to protect the graft union of young trees, but it is not very effective in protecting aboveground plant parts in established trees,” according to a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week on UF/IFAS researchers have been looking into using potassium and silicon for cold hardiness in citrus. See the details below.

Potassium and Silicon for Cold Hardiness

The article shared the benefits of potassium: “Potassium (K+) can enhance the plant’s ability to cope with stress. High concentrations of K+ lower the freezing point of the plant’s cell solutions. Furthermore, adapted cytosol K+ concentration is essential for enzyme activities that are involved in frost resistance.”

Similarly, it shares that silicon “can protect plants from freeze damage by modification of the cell wall and prevention of membrane damage. In addition, Si can enhance the stability of cuticles on the leaves and help plants protect against heat and cold stress.”

The UF/IFAS research measured how well exogenous applications of potassium and silicon could enhance freeze tolerance at freezing temperatures ranging from 32 degrees to 14 degrees Fahrenheit on Owari satsuma. Takeaways from the research into using potassium and silicon for cold hardiness in citrus include:

  • “Silicon alone or in combination with potassium is effective in improving the cold hardiness in satsuma mandarin and red navel orange.”
  • “Silicon at 150 ppm is the safe level for use in citrus production systems, but more research is needed to refine the application rate for different species.”
  • “Silicon is an ecofriendly and economical substance to add in the citrus nutrition program.”

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