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Silica article: Looking for others' knowledge on silica

labexperiment

Well-Known Member
An Element Too Good to Pass Up: The Benefits of Silicon

July 2013
Written by David Kessler


An Element Too Good to Pass Up: The Benefits of Silicon

All-miracle cures for the garden are snake oils, right? Well, what if we were to tell you that one of those marvels is real, as well as the second most abundant element on the surface of the earth?

Would you use a product that would increase your harvest weight by as much as 80%? What if it also provided increased tolerance to environmental stressors such as drought and high temperatures, provided resistance to insect attacks, and additionally had been proven to protect your crop from powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fulginea), root rot (Fusarium oxysporum), damping off (Pythium), and gray mold (botrytis cinerea)? Now, what if I told you this product is real, that it is available, and that the above list of accolades does not even scratch the surface of what it has been proven to do?
This miracle product happens to be the second most abundant element on the surface of the earth: silicon. Although not regarded as one of the 16 essential nutrients that plants must have to grow, silicon may prove to be the best addition to your fertilizer regimen you can make. Plants have certainly been shown to grow in hydroponic solution devoid of silicon, but when the same plants are grown with silicon, tissue analysis has shown that silicon accounts for as much as 10% of the dry weight of the plant. Everyone wants bigger harvests, and using silicon could be the key. A study conducted by the University of Florida found that silicon-responsive plants had "dry weight increases (which)...ranged from 6 to 80% depending on the species."
So how does this "non-essential" element have such a huge impact on so many facets of your plants' existence? Silicon performs its multitude of functions in two ways: by the polymerization of silicic acid leading to the formation of solid amorphous, hydrated silica, and by being instrumental in the formation of organic defense compounds. To simplify, silicon is actively transported into the plant similarly to macronutrients like potassium. From there it moves up the xylem and is distributed out to the growing shoots. There, the silicon forms larger polymer chains (polymerization) that allows plants to deposit silicon in the form of solid amorphous (non crystalline), hydrated silica which is then incorporated into the plant's cell walls, thereby armoring the plant's cells against rasping and sucking insects. If you are growing leafy greens, think about how much better the texture of the leaves will be when every one of the millions of plant cells has thicker cell walls from the added silicon.
Additionally, silicon is deposited in the trichomes of plants, according to studies, it is the silica in trichomes that lends leaves and awns (stiff bristle or hair-like appendages in plants) the roughness and the toughness that impede the penetration of herbivores and pathogens through the cell walls. It acts as a physical barrier.
The other way silicon benefits your plants is in its ability to promote the synthesis of organic defense compounds. When a plant is under attack by insects or pathogens it sends out chemical messages, triggering the plant's natural defenses. A study conducted on cucumbers yielded conclusive proof the plants were protected from fungal pathogens by the presence of silicon in the hydroponic solution.
Another benefit of the use of silicon is that it balances the nutrient absorption of your plants. Silicon can balance nutrient elements in plant tissue through the suppression of Al, Mn and Na, and by mediating the uptake of other elements like P, Mg, K, Fe, Cu and Zn. When used with peat-based or bark-based soil/soilless mixes, silicon prevents the over-acidification of the mix, which can lead to pH-induced nutrient lockout, as well as inhibiting the absorption of toxic elements like aluminum. When anthuriums were grown in soil with available aluminum, the tissue tested had 150 ppm of aluminum while the plants grown in the same soil, but fed silicon, tested at only 41 ppm.
If you're considering introducing silicon additives into your feeding program, remember that silicon products must be the first thing added to a fresh reservoir of water, even before base nutrients. By their inherent chemical properties, silicon additives are alkali, and because most fertilizers are acidic, they must be diluted before they are added to a hydroponic reservoir or any water fertilizer mixture. This will allow for the concentrated alkali silicon solution to diffuse, thus preventing localized chemical reactions from causing the formation of undesirable nutrient precipitates.
Silicon can be a cure, a booster, a medicine and a messenger. It can counteract damage to your plants from extreme temperatures, or prevent the absorption of toxins that would otherwise destroy your plants. It can send insects to more inviting hosts, and it can increase the weight of your harvest. Silicon truly is a multipurpose, beneficial element that should be in every gardener's toolbox. Think of it as the best, and cheapest, plant insurance you can buy!

David Kessler heads research and development at Atlantis Hydroponics and writes for their popular blog. David has over two decades of experience and multiple degrees from the State University of New York. He's also an accredited judge for the American Orchid Society and travels the world judging orchid event.

Source: Maximun Yield
 
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conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
Re: Silica article, looking for others knowledge on silica.

I agree, silica works big time. Makes the fibre hard as steel.
 

PearlThePixie

New Member
Re: Silica article, looking for others knowledge on silica.

I started using silica a couple of months ago, my plants love it, as well as stronger stems they just look happier for having had it, I think they prey more when given silica.
 

MsBotwin

New Member
Re: Silica article, looking for others knowledge on silica.

Been using Pro-Tekt for years, it's great!
 

mikrom

New Member
is the taste or quality of the product / smoke affected ?
 

MassMedMan

Member of the Month: July 2015
i use pro tekt in veg and I,m very happy with the results.
 

Ganjazilla

New Member
I use Rhino Skin thru the later part of veg and all thru flowering and I grow plants that could hold ME up...never mind just the bud weight. It's great stuff, for those growers not yet using a silicate supplement...Rhino Skin is worth every single penny, and then some!!
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
Funny, as an outdoor grower I never even heard of this stuff. Thanks to you folks I got some for my rookie indoor grow!
Oh I've been using the stuff and I confirm it easy found by the roots it will transform the stems into steel which is very important outdoor. I simply use horsetail top dressing, easy, organic and sustainable source that has up to 25% silica.
 

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
Could you elaborate a little Conradino? Is it just dried and ground up horsetail you're using?

There is a lot of horsetail here. They make great pot scrubbers for doing the dishes when camping, I think the high silica content is part of the reason for their tough and abrasive nature. Never let it get established in the garden as a weed though.
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
No just freshly picked one.
 

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
Yeah it costs a lot of money too. I'm plotting on refining some horsetails for silica instead of buying more of those expensive bottles I have on the shelf. I'll post if I have any success. Probably it's not rocket science. I'm thinking I'll dry and powder some and do a side by side test with it.
 

Budd Aldrin

New Member
Cool read. Learn something everyday on this sight. I used Dyna-Gro some years back, and noticed my stems were healthier than my EJ line of today.
Question: Can I use Pro-Tek with Earth Juice early on?
 

Integrum Stultus

On Vacation
I use ArmorSI as a pH up. No ill affects and seems to work as intended. Thick strong stemming. I use as a foliar spray and with feed. I read somewhere it was good for promoting light intake within leaves when used as a foliar feed.


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Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
Yeah it costs a lot of money too. I'm plotting on refining some horsetails for silica instead of buying more of those expensive bottles I have on the shelf. I'll post if I have any success. Probably it's not rocket science. I'm thinking I'll dry and powder some and do a side by side test with it.

An update to this - I discovered that it actually is rocket science to try to make and bottle an 'extract of silica'. I'd still like to try adding a dried horsetail mix to my soilless grows and see if it makes a difference. A sized by side grow would easily determine if the stems of the one with horsetail in it are stronger.
 
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