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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.
 

Blazer420

New Member
I have been using silica for some time now. It really works great to strengthen the stalks and limbs of the plant; requiring less staking and bud support.

You have to really be careful with ph when you mix it up though. As a matter of fact, its ph is so high that if you mix it in many of the nutrients out there, it will crash out of suspension and create a really messy precipitate that can clog just about anything.

Because of this, I mix it (and apply it) separately in water only and then adjust the ph.

B-
 

c526

Member of the Month: Jan 2015 - Plant of the Month: Jan 2015
has been a staple in the garden for a couple of years,now.and as blazer has mentioned,if not mixed correctly can have some devastating effects.
Im a water grower and as long as I mix it in first,then add my nutrients,its been great to me
 

c526

Member of the Month: Jan 2015 - Plant of the Month: Jan 2015
please remember that the amour Si is a CONCENTRATE and a little goes along way,A REALLY long way

I prefer the silica blast from botonicare,not as concentrated and is very forgiving if you add to much
 

c526

Member of the Month: Jan 2015 - Plant of the Month: Jan 2015
works very well IF you read the bottle. I unfortunately didn't and it cost me,no question it was my fault-Not the product

I had been using the sillica blast at 5ml/gallon,used it for a couple of years,store ran out,but they had armour Si,so I picked it up
well stupid me,I just mixed as before,bad idea,I spent 2 weeks chasing problems,only to one day look up and see the 2 bottles sitting side by side.
then it hit me----sillica blast---0-0-0.5 .5% K
armour Si----- 0-0-4 4% k

As soon as i backed the SI down from 5ml/gal to 1.8ml/gal everyone is happy again
 

WizHigh

Member of the Month: Dec 2012
You have to really be careful with ph when you mix it up though. As a matter of fact, its ph is so high that if you mix it in many of the nutrients out there, it will crash out of suspension and create a really messy precipitate that can clog just about anything.

Because of this, I mix it (and apply it) separately in water only and then adjust the ph.

B-


General Hydroponics version is Armor Si.



Rhino Skin from Advance Nutes is the best, it doesnt clump or do all the extra crap other brands do. Works more effectively and faster. 10ml per gallon. I use it in veg mostly.
 
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