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Fertilizing and Watering

Subject:  Using silica: Is it beneficial?

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Date Posted


Morgantown, WV

Silica seems to be making a quiet rise in this community. I have been told by a number of growers that I trust, that silica is a very beneficial additive to your program in order to strengthen cell walls, promote root growth, and add resistance to disease (due to the strengthened cells).

The following picture is of the type of media I have been adding to increase my CEC and organic matter. It would suggest, as has been suggested to me, that it is in fact beneficial.


1/27/2019 9:42:54 AM


Morgantown, WV


Here is where I start to stray. I purchased this a couple years ago when it was first suggested, but feel I should have done some more research prior to the purchase. It clearly states on the front of the package "This product does not benefit dicot plants."

I have been digging around a bit, and cannot come up with a clear answer on the matter. Some places say yes, other solid companies say no...

I'm probably opening a can of worms here, but let's make some castings! Is it beneficial, or are people adding it unnecessarily? Is it just for monocots? Is there a more accessible form that is available to dicots?

1/27/2019 9:54:06 AM

Wolfpack83 (Rebel Rousers)

central Nc

I actually looked into this earlier this year and decided it wasn't worth the expense (I'm far from a heavy hitter though). Silica accumulates in monocots significantly more than dicots. I believe the benefits are accurate, but dicots accumulate only trace amounts so i figure it cant provide that much benefit. I know commercial cucumber growers use it for disease containment, so maybe there is something there. Cost-benefit is too high for me, but if I had the extra cash I'd do it.

1/27/2019 11:02:35 AM


this might help . . I think Smalltown is doing some reseach.


1/27/2019 11:48:33 AM


Oak Grove, Mn

I use silicate in my hydro grows. Not sure if the silicate is helpful but potassium silicate works great as a ph up additive.

1/27/2019 2:23:14 PM

big moon

Bethlehem CT

Hi Dustin, that is interesting about the label saying that it was not for dicots. I have not heard that before.

I am no heavy hitter, but I have spoken with heavy hitters about silica. I have learned that silica plays an important role in all plants . This past summer I was speaking to a plant pathologist (Wade Elmer) who is doing research on plant disease suppression through the use of micronutrients in the form of nanoparticles. He told me that silica is especially important for cucurbits.
I found this link

The key is to buy it in a formulation that the plants can take up and use. Last year I spread 50 pounds of food grade diatomaceous earth on my patch last. I question if it was available to the plants? Perhaps it will be released very slowly over time.

1/27/2019 5:50:32 PM

G. Kins

Southwest WA

I also thought diatomaceous earth might be an economical source of silica. I believe my soil is naturally high in silica (i live within the ash fall zone of mt st helens) and that it does reduce powdery mildew and really helps cucurbits. Only one small area of pm for me last year despite no other prevention or treatment on most of the plants although i did spray daconil on one plant which appeared to be getting it after some poor unsettled weather. Ive been unbelievably lucky with powdery mildew plants make it to frost without ever getting it.

1/27/2019 6:20:59 PM

DJW (Dan)

New Berlin, PA

I was at a recent pesticides credit meeting for our local extension office, and a fertilizer rep gave a presentation on the use of Si, and its effects in reducing PM and other diseases, and he recommended spraying a Si product in all pesticide applications. Keep in mind this was a company rep, but nevertheless it got me thinking.

1/28/2019 7:53:32 AM

big moon

Bethlehem CT

Powdery mildew isn't a big problem for me either on my AG's. It seems to leave the C. maxima's alone and mostly effects the C. pepos. I do know growers that struggle with pm.

1/28/2019 9:32:35 AM


Alexandria, Indiana

I have worked with corn in my masters. What we found is that a foliar application at V10 in corn gives us an average of a 39% increase in stalk strength with a range of 16% to 69%.

It has a more measured effect from my research in monocots. I do believe that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to truly understand the effect it has on dicots and monocots.

1/28/2019 1:42:58 PM


Buffalo, MN (Billsbigpumpkins@hotmail.com)

For those that are using Silica on AGs how are they using it and what is the rate per sq ft.

1/28/2019 2:11:33 PM


Alexandria, Indiana

I used the same rate we did in our corn trials, 1 pound per acre of product or 167 grams per 1k square ft. applied every 2 weeks.

1/28/2019 4:23:02 PM


Morgantown, WV

I have read a lot about hyperaccumulators of silica, as in corn, sugar cane, rice... all monocots. I see reports about its effectiveness in cucurbits, but do not also see types of silica used, or application rates.

ST's application rate is a good starting point for conversation, and like Bill wants to know, how much is everyone else using and what type?

Also, thank you ST for your input. I'd like to ask you a few questions if you wouldn't mind emailing me?


1/28/2019 9:04:35 PM


NE Arkansas

You can also buy ag-sil and make your own mix. It's way cheaper than buying liquid.

1/28/2019 9:28:28 PM


Central Illinois

I believe its the type of plant that determines if it should be used in the soil or as a foliar

1/29/2019 9:13:11 AM


Seattle, WA

Here's a good article on the benefits of silicon:


1/31/2019 5:39:05 PM

North Shore Boyz

Mill Bay, British Columbia

I used it last year for the first time and it will be used in my rotation from now on.


2/8/2019 6:20:44 PM


Morgantown, WV

North Shore, if you follow the link in my second post, it is precisely this same product from NPK industries that has brought its effectiveness into question. Thank you for the input though.

2/8/2019 8:23:05 PM

North Shore Boyz

Mill Bay, British Columbia

Thanks Dustin, I saw that too, however following discussions with other growers I decided to include it in the rotation anyways.

2/9/2019 10:46:53 PM


Syracuse, NY

so far we have Silica, Silicate and Silicon.
i loosely read some of Tad12's link concerning the
very 'root' of all the other derivatives, Silicon, an ELEMENT---being that it is not trying to sell me anything, i'd read and trust in that first. oh, the flashbacks to chemistry class---everything SOUNDS familiar, lol...eg

2/10/2019 2:24:46 AM


Morgantown, WV

So... I guess here is where I'm at...

I'm not dialed in enough here to be able to test on one plant versus the other, but there seems to be a growing scientific interest in the matter despite the research not yet hitting pumpkins.

I too read the article Tad linked, and it got me thinking a different direction. It mentioned that a lot of soils around the world are getting tired. I know from my soil class that West Virginia soils (and most in the Appalachian Mountain range) are heavily weathered and from very old parent material compared to other regions of the US. This means that a lot of the minerality is gone.

I believe for now, I will use the rest of this packet since I already have it, but focus more on the soil overall rather than just one additive. I feel a product like Azomite (a complex silica ore of volcanic origin) has a wider benefit for the cost over singular silica products over the long run.

I do understand that it will not be as readily taken up as a foliar spray, as the soil biology will have to unlock it over time, but I'll have peace of mind knowing it's in there, at least in small amounts.

2/10/2019 8:36:31 AM



Zeolite is a aluminum silicate that is cheap and will raise the soils cec.I put about 2000 lbs of it in my 5000square ft garden and it raised my cec about 5 pts.Its said that it holds onto water so you may not want to use it in clay soils but I have sand so I tried it. How much of the silica is available? I don't know.

2/11/2019 1:36:02 AM


Seattle, WA

For what you guys are doing, I would look into Agsil 16H, like jlindley already suggested. It's what's in most commercial silica products but you're buying the powder instead of mixing your own. 1 lb. of Agsil will allow you to make almost a gallon to the same strength of Dynagro ProTekt for more than 1/2 the price. We sell it at kisorganics.com but there's lots of places that carry it now. It's not totally organic, but is the easiest way to get silica and potassium in an available form. Most of the sand like or dry amendments are high in silicon dioxide which is not readily available to the plant and takes time to release.

2/18/2019 1:12:48 PM

big moon

Bethlehem CT

Thanks Tad, You always have useful info to share.

2/18/2019 4:26:36 PM

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