Response of citrus to silicon soil amendments

Vladimir Matichenkov, Elena Bocharnikova, David Calvert

Abstract


Silicon (Si) is a basic mineral forming element and a beneficial nutrient for higher plants. Fertilization with soil amendments containing chemically activated Si has an effect on physical and chemical soil properties, including increased soil exchange capacity, improved water and air regimes, reduced Al, heavy metal and organic pollutant toxicities, optimized pH level of soil, and maintenance of nutrients in plantavailable form. Improving plant Si nutrition has been shown to reinforce plant protection properties against diseases, insects, and other unfavorable conditions. Improving Si nutrition also aids in the initiation of root and fruit formation in higher plants. The object of this investigation was to determine the response of citrus growing in South Florida to a Si soil amendment consisting of Ca-Mg slag. Both field and greenhouse experiments were conducted. A comparative study was made of Si compounds in the soil and of the Si status of citrus leaves. The resulting data showed that sandy soils are low in biogeochemically active Si. A relationship was determined between the soil Si status and the leaf Si content and also tree vigor of 'Valencia' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck]. Optimization of Si nutrition was responsible for a significant increase in the mass of roots and green mass of germinated 'Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) seedlings.

Keywords


silicon soil amendment; citrus germination; abiotic stress; young citrus trees

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