What is Available Silica?
It is the form of silicon that is available to a plant. Silicon is the second most abundant mineral on earth, and is found in many forms in the soil, but only the Silica Dioxide 20% form is available to the plants. Microbial activity decomposes organic matter to form humic substances and causes reactions with Silicon to form organic forms of Silica which can be translocated to the plant and absorbed by the roots. Absorption of ZumSil® by plants is equivalent or superior to essential elements such as nitrogen and potassium and, its accumulation in plants is similar to essential micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur.
What does Available Silica do for plants?
Improves Nitrogen fixation.
A recent study was done on the effects of available Silica and Azotobacter. Azotobacter is a bacteria that binds atmospheric Nitrogen and releases it in the soil as plant available Nitrogen. Depending on the environment, Azotobacter can supply the plant with 10-50% of its Nitrogen needs. This becomes cumulative with annual applications of available Silica and the percentages increase.
Improves availability of Phosphorous.
Without soluble Silica, Phosphorous is not available. If plants are showing a Phosphorous deficiency, the lack of available Silica may be the reason.
Strengthens cell walls, thereby building resilience.
The cell wall of a plant is a barrier that must be breached to get to what is located within. If the plant has stronger cell walls, pathogens are unable to gain a food source thereby stopping them from spreading. Silicon forms a protective armour plating on the plant leaf and gives the leaf a shiny surface that repels some insects. The leaf is also able to resist fungal spore germination and establishment. When disease begins, a plant will direct all available Silica to the affected site to strengthen the cell walls.
The leaves of a plant are responsible for taking energy from the sun and converting it into plant sugars. During warmer conditions, the plant is less likely to droop, therefore maximizing photosynthesis. Silicon is also a very important part of the structures within a plant that transport minerals. If Silicon is not present, the minerals are not effectively moved throughout the plant, resulting in pale spots and other discolouration.
Buffers the plant from stress.
Silicon can buffer a plant from stresses from the environment and from pests and disease. Environmental stresses include extreme weather, drought, cold, heavy metals and salt. Silicon immobilizes heavy metals in the soil.
Boosts Plant Immunity.
Studies have shown that silicon alters plants defence signalling, thereby increasing disease resistance.
Increases the sugar content and quality in plants.
Zumsil in the soil makes other minerals available to the plant, and makes the carbon cycle more efficient which increases the Brix in the plant.