Definition - What does Silicon (Si) mean?
Silicon, represented by the symbol Si, is one of the most abundant elements in earth’s crust, second only to oxygen. Silicon has gained a lot of attention in agriculture as it has been found to have many beneficial effects on several crop species. Although silicon is considered to be a non-essential nutrient for many plants, it has been found to positively affect plant growth and quality, and can help plants build a resistance to some diseases.
MaximumYield explains Silicon (Si)
Several studies have shown some of the benefits of silicon, particularly on crops, to be an increase in plant growth, photosynthesis, and plant quality. It can also enhance a plant’s resistance to environmental factors such as drought.
Additionally, silicon has been found to reduce some types of mildews. This finding is particularly beneficial as it can help minimize the need for potentially harmful chemical pesticides. Flowering plants, or ornamental plants, can also benefit from silicon treatments. Silicon can increase flower diameter and can help plants produce stronger, thicker stems.
The major studies of the effects of silicon on plants are relatively new compared to the knowledge of the effects of other nutrients. These major studies began around 1999 and have continued to prove the positive effects of plants treated with naturally occurring sources of silicon and commercial silicon fertilizers.
One obstacle in plants receiving a beneficial amount of silicon is the amount of silicon in the soil that plants can readily absorb. Although silicon is abundant in soils in the form of silicates, there are very few organisms that can use it directly. As a result, most types of soils have limited plant-ready or plant-available silicon.