Author: Adam Fitzhenry Date Posted:1 June 2020
Silica has many benefits and is an excellent additional for enhancing plant, soil, animal and human health!
Silicon (silica or Si) is the second most abundant element on the Earth’s surface and in recent years has gained significant attention from the agricultural industry for its beneficial effects on plants.
Coming in behind oxygen, it’s a fair question to ask, why then, do we need to add silica to our crops, plants and lawns? The bio-geochemical cycle of silica in nature, is much more intense than the cycles of both Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). And the fact is, all living plants use and need silica the same way they use carbon dioxide, that is, in great quantities and fairly regularly. Growing plants and grass tend to strip away silica in their natural process of living and growing, meaning we are unable to get adequate levels of silica in our diet.
The late Daniel Fitzhenry, certified horticulturist, Plant Doctor founder and whose research this blog is largely based upon, regularly conducted soil tests for more than 40 years and always found the soil lacking silica.
It’s been estimated that between 40 to 300kg of silica per hectare is being lost each year and the increase in silica deficit soils is causing numerous negative consequences for both soil, plants and grasses.
Silicon deficiency has the ability to influence the uptake of many other nutrients, such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and much more. Therefore, a lack in silica can also be the catalyst of other nutrient deficiencies.
What are the benefits of using silica on plants and lawns?
Silica fertilisation has a double effect on the soil and plant system. Firstly, it reinforces a plant’s protective properties against diseases, insect attacks and unfavourable climate conditions. Secondly, it optimises soil fertility through improved water, physical and chemical soil properties and maintains nutrients in a plant available form.
Furthermore, applying silica will help restore soil structure, increase the water holding capacity and increase soil erosion stability. Silica can even help increase root mass by 50 per cent!
What benefits does silica offer to people and animals?
In our diet, silica is known for promoting hair, skin and nail health, helping to improve joint and bone health and can boost the immune system. With an abundance of highly processed foods in our daily lives, you might find that you could benefit from including a silica-rich food source in your diet.
One of Plant Doctor’s stand-out products has always been our Fossil Shell Flour, which has an incredibly high silica content – 92.6%. This extremely pure form of Diatomaceous Earth is a plant-based wholefood, provides a natural source of silica and boasts many health benefits including helping cleanse the digestive system, improving gut health, promoting healthier skin, hair and nails and can help increase nutrient and mineral absorption, plus much more!
How to include silica into your garden, lawn and plant routine
If we haven’t already made it clear, silica is an excellent additive to soils for your plants, lawns and crops. It can help strengthen cell growth, foster stronger, healthier plants, increase a plant’s resistance and immune system and much more – it’s a lengthy list!
A Plant Doctor favourite for applying silica to all soils for your plants, lawns and crops is our Horticulture and Agriculture Grade VolcaMin! This superior product contains a high silica content (>70%) but also works as a fertiliser battery, charging when free nutrients are available, holding them from leaching and volatilisation, allowing then to be taken when the roots or soil microbes need them.
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