Silicon + Bananas + Foliar Sprays
June 16, 2021
Here is a study showing silicon benefits bananas from silicon fertilizers applied to the leaves and soil. This research shows improvements in banana quality with the use of calcium silicate in the soil and foliar sprays with potassium silicate. Go silicon!
You may be wondering about water-based foliar (leaf) sprays using silicon fertilizers. They work, but we suggest using them with caution. They are costly liquids without a lot of minerals compared to raw wollastonite sand (we are biased).
One of our customers made the point recently that foliar applications can end up force-feeding any nutrient to the plant with the potential to overdo it. What if the cell walls get too tough from overdoing it with silicon sprays? When pressing grapes to make wine, extra-tough grape skin is not a good thing. This grower focuses on soil applications of wollastonite to provide both calcium and silicon to let the plant control the rate of uptake of nutrients from the soil to help ensure optimum quality. We can assume the plant knows best, right?
Roots have doors and security staff that say which nutrients and how much of each can come into the plant. But leaves lack security staff and robust doors. Leaves are high-performance solar collectors built to capture light with thin and flexible cell walls. These walls are so weak they can lose nutrients to rainwater. Rainwater is chemically strong enough to pull nutrients like potassium right out of the leaf.
Studies often show foliar silicon applications increase leaf tissue concentrations of silicon more than soil applications of silicon-based fertilizers. Still, we think this begs the question, did the plant want that much?
Foliar feeding plants is an excellent tool to use to overcome a deficiency or perform a little top-up. However, foliar feeding does not address the underlying issue.
We say, “Feed the soil and let the plant do the rest.”
At long last, here is the banana study with a useful review of the general benefits of silicon fertilizers, thanks for reading this far! Enjoy.
EFFECT OF SOIL AND FOLIAR APPLICATION OF SILICON ON FRUIT QUALITY PARAMETERS OF BANANAcv. NEYPOOVAN UNDER HILL ZONE