Silicon is an essential micronutrient that is often overlooked but plays a critical role in the growth and development of plants and lawns. Silicon is not considered a macronutrient as it is required by plants and lawns in relatively small amounts, but it still plays a significant role in plant health.
One of the essential functions of silicon in plants and lawns is the strengthening of cell walls. Silicon is incorporated into the cell walls, making them thicker and more rigid, providing physical strength to the plant or grass. This increased rigidity makes it more difficult for plant pathogens to penetrate the plant's tissue, helping to improve the plant's resistance to diseases and pests.
Silicon can also help reduce water loss from plants and lawns by improving their drought resistance. When plants and lawns are exposed to drought conditions, they can lose water through transpiration, leading to wilted, stressed plants. Silicon helps regulate the plant's water usage and reduces water loss, making it easier for plants and lawns to survive during periods of drought.
Silicon deficiency in plants and lawns can lead to several symptoms, including reduced root growth, decreased plant vigor, and increased susceptibility to stressors such as drought, high temperatures, and pests. In turfgrass, silicon deficiency can lead to reduced turf quality, thinning of the grass, and increased susceptibility to diseases such as dollar spot and brown patch.