SILICON FERTILIZERS FOR CITRUS IN FLORIDA

MATICHENKOV, VLADIMIR

Abstract


Most soils used for citrus in Florida are sandy with low cation-exchange capacity. Numerous laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments have shown the benefits of silicon fertilizers for agricultural crops and the importance of silicon fertilizers as a component in sustainable agriculture. Two different effects on plants from silicon fertilizers have been distinguished: i) an indirect influence through soil fertility and ii) a direct effect on plant tolerance to stress. Fertilization with silicon-rich materials not only reduced leaching of nutrients, but remained in plant-available forms in sandy soils. Silicon-rich substances applied to the soil enhanced the initial growth of grapefruit seedlings. The Si content in orange and grapefruit leaves increased with leaf age and appeared to be related to the silicon status of the soil. Acid-extractable silicon from Spodosols was usually higher under healthy-appearing trees than under unhealthy-appearing trees. Although more work needs to be done, it appears that citrus in Florida could benefit from improved silicon nutrition.

Keywords


biotic stress; monosilicic acids

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283