Silicon, silica, sylicic acid...What is it?

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TheMaverickFarmer

TheMaverickFarmer

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Ok so I come across a lot of threads talking about Silica, Silicon, Sylicic acid, Silicates, Potassium Silica, etc... but still very vague as to what does what exactly. I recently came across this well composed piece on the subject that helps decifer all the info out there and would like to share it with ya'll.

It is not my creation, It is copied and pasted, edited a bit to remove the marketing bits but I hope it doesn't contravene the rules of the farm. I'm sure some of you will have things to add, discuss your experiences etc..all I ask is that it's done respectfully. It's a bit long, have a coffee, roll one up and enjoy:)

Admin please remove if inappropriate or been posted before


Silicic Acid

As research expands, growers are realizing the benefits of adding silicic acid, a form of the element silicon, to their growing routines. Silicon is not considered an essential plant nutrient, still, it provides many benefits to plants. Therefore, some people think of silicon as a bio-stimulant.

Silicon provides a number of benefits to plants. These include increased resistance to pests and pathogens, increased growth, and increased stress tolerance. The mechanisms behind these benefits vary. Some of these benefits are caused by improved plant responses to pests. Others are due to structural changes in plants. Yet other benefits are caused by changes in plant chemical signaling.

Before you apply silicon, it’s important to understand the forms that plants take up. After all, some forms of silicon are more available to plants than others. Therefore, applying silicic acid, silica, and silicate has different effects on plants. For best results, choose a product that contains monosilicic acid.

Some Silicon Terminology

Before we dive into the details, let’s explore some terms. People often use these terms interchangeably, even when they don’t mean the same thing. So, don’t get led astray by other peoples’ mistakes. I've noticed that a lot of product suppliers and growers use the term silica when that’s not what they mean. For example, growers say they’re applying silica products when they’re really applying silicon products. However, not all silicon products are silica.

So, here are the definitions of some common terms involved in talks about silicon in plants.

Silicon: a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14

Silica: another name for silicon dioxide (SiO₂); found in the mineral quartz and also a major component of sand

Silicic acid: a general term for compounds containing silicon (Si), oxygen (O), and hydrogen (H)

Monosilicic Acid: Si(OH)₄ also known as orthosilicic acid

Silicates: compounds containing oxygen and silicon, including calcium silicate and potassium silicate

If you get confused about all the types of silicon compounds, refer back to these definitions. Most importantly, remember that these terms aren’t interchangeable! Silica is NOT the same thing as silicon.

What Does Silica Do for Plants?

So, what does “silica” do for plants? The truth is, not much. However, if you hear growers talking about applying silica, they probably mean they’re applying a product that contains silicon.

On the other hand, silicon does a lot for plants! This element is not considered an essential plant nutrient, since plants can complete their life cycles without it. However, silicon benefits plants in several ways. Some of the most important ways are mentioned below.

Silicon Promotes Plant Growth

This element increases the growth of cells, leading to faster growth of roots, stems, and shoots. Studies have shown that when growers apply silicon, plants grow taller and have thicker stems. This means stronger both larger and stronger plants and larger and stronger plants means higher yields!

Silicon also encourages more lateral branching. So, if you’re looking for taller and bushier plants, add silicic acid. When you apply silicic acid products, you’ll be amazed at how much they impact plant growth.

Improves Resistance to Fungal and Bacterial Pathogens

Although it’s not fully known how, silicon helps protect plants against harmful fungi. Some of these fungi include fusarium wilt and powdery mildew. Scientists think one way this element protects plants is by stimulating plant defenses. When you add silicon to your plants, they can better recognize diseases and begin to fight back.
Silicon helps plants fight against fungi such as downy mildew.



Another way silicon protects plants is by increasing the production of plant stress hormones. These hormones, including jasmonic acid and abscisic acid, help plants better respond to the stress caused by pathogens.

When you apply monosilicic acid to plants, you can often decrease pesticide applications by 50% or more.

Strengthens Cell Walls

When you apply silicon to plants, it becomes a part of plant cell walls. This leads to an increase in the strength and rigidity of cell walls. Think of silicon as a layer of mortar enforcing brick walls. The bricks can stand without the mortar, but they are much stronger with it.

With stronger cell walls, plants can better withstand pressure from wind and heavy rain. Since cell walls are less likely to experience damages, plants have a lower risk of breaking stems. Growing your plants indoors in a protected environment? Stronger cell walls still help plants by protecting against abiotic and biotic stressors.

Increases Resistance to Insect Pests

Just like silicon helps plants fight off fungal and bacterial pathogens, it also stimulates plant defenses that protect against insect pests. With these heightened defenses, plants are more likely to win the battles against their attackers.

Once in the plant, this element also stimulates the production of compounds that draw predatory insects and parasitoids in to attack the insect pests. Due to these stronger pest defenses, growers can decrease their pesticide applications.

Improves Tolerance to Drought and Heat Stress

When plants face adverse conditions such as drought, heat, or cold, silicon promotes the production of defense compounds. Along with this, silicon increases nutrient uptake. Therefore, this leads to plants that can better withstand abiotic stressors. Just as with humans, increased health in plants allows them to better respond to trying conditions.

Protects Against Heavy Metals

We know that heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, and lead can harm plant health. These metals can damage plant cells, stunt plant growth, and prevent proper nutrient uptake. However, silicon can help protect plants against the damages caused by heavy metals.

One study showed that plants supplemented with silicon can better protect themselves against the heavy metal cadmium (Cd). Also, silicon helps protects plants against the harms caused by heavy metal aluminum (Al). Therefore, if you’re growing in contaminated soils, it’s especially helpful to provide your plants with high enough levels of silicon.

Plant Available Silica
Even though silicon is not known as a major nutrient in plant nutrition, it’s quite common in the world. In fact, the earth’s crust contains more than 27% silicon. That makes it the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, following oxygen.

So, if there is so much silicon already present why must you apply it to plants? Because most of the silicon in the plant’s crust is held in forms plants cannot take up. These include silicon dioxide (silica) and various silicate minerals. Silica is found in nature as quartz, a component of sand, and as a part of other rocks.

While plants can’t take up silica, they can take up another form of silicon —monosilicic/orthosilicic acid. Bacteria can convert other silicon compounds into monosilicic acid however this process takes weeks or months. By the time silicon is in a plant available form, it is often too late. Therefore, growers often apply silicon in the form of monosilicic acid.

Silicon and pH
It’s important to note that the pH of a solution impacts the form of silicon in solution. When a solution is moderately basic (a pH above 8), monosilicic acid will react with minerals. Once this happens, the silicon precipitates out as a solid.

Therefore, it’s probably best to add silicon nutrients to an acidic hydroponic nutrient solution, with a pH roughly between 5.5 and 6.0. Most nutrient solutions are generally in this range. However, if you’re running at a higher pH, say around 8.0, the silicon might react with the other nutrients dissolved in your solution and precipitate out.

In other words, don’t add silicon to alkaline nutrient solutions with a high pH. If you do, it could wreck your nutrient solution altogether! In order to avoid precipitation, many experienced growers dissolve and dilute their nutrients into small batches of water, just before adding them to the main nutrient solution.

What to Look for in Silicon Products:
It’s important to take note of not only the percent of silicon in a product but also the percent of plant-available silicon (PAS). Just because a product contains a high percentage of silicon, it does not mean plants will take up a high percentage. Also, just because a product contains stabilized silicic acid, it does not necessarily mean it contains a high amount of plant-available silicon.

When searching for products, look for the form of silicon that a product contains. Next, look for the total silicon content and plant-available silicon content.

Silicic Acid for Plants
As mentioned above, monosilicic/orthosilicic acid is the type of silicon available to plants. This compound is just one molecule of silicic acid, rather than a chain of molecules attached together.


Applying Silicic Acid
There are two main ways to apply silicic acid: as a foliar spray or as a soil application.

For soil applications mix your product in solution according to product instructions. For spray applications research trials suggest that stabilized silicic acid sprays should contain 2-6 mL/L (7-45 ppm) of silicic acid.

For best results with foliar applications begin spraying your plants in the early vegetative stage of growth. Spray 3-4 times over a period of 2-3 weeks.

Research on foliar sprays has shown the following results:

Enhanced root growth
Increased nutrient content
Higher sugar content (Brix)
Decreased bacterial and fungal infections
Increased protein content
Growers can also apply silicic acid to their growing media through a fertigation system. This method also helps stimulate soil bacteria. Therefore, it increases nutrient availabilities.

Silicon During Flowering
As noted above, you should start applying monosilicic acid during the early vegetative phase. You can continue to apply it for the next few weeks. When your plant begins to flower, reduce the amount you are applying.

While some growers state you should stop silicon applications all together once flowering starts, plants can benefit from silicon through every stage of their lives. However, they do require less during flowering. So, you can decrease the amount you’re applying.

When to Stop Using Silicon?
So, when should you stop using silicon products? There’s no clear answer. Some growers swear by stopping silicon applications once a plant begins flowering. Other growers continue to apply silicon throughout the plant’s whole life. Try experimenting and see what works best for you.

No matter when you stop applying silicon products, make sure you start applying them during early vegetative growth.

Silicic Acid vs. Potassium Silicate
Potassium silicate (K2SiO3) is a salt of silicic acid (H4SiO4).

As mentioned above silicates are not immediately available to the plants, plants cannot take up or use potassium silicate...bacteria must first convert it to monosilicic acid therefore applying potassium silicate does not have the same effects as applying monosilicic acid. Plants will not be able to experience the benefits of silicon until weeks or months after you apply potassium silicate.

Wrapping Up
As you’ve read above, silicic acid is a helpful addition to plants. One way it benefits plants is by helping them fight against drought, heat, diseases, and pests. This can help decrease applications of pesticides. Another way silicon helps plants is by increasing plant growth and yield, putting more money in your pocket.

Remember that silicic acid is a silicon-containing compound, but not all silicon-containing compounds are silicic acids. Therefore, applying silica or silicates is not the same as applying monosilicic acid.

If you choose to apply monosilicic acid, you can apply as a foliar spray or as an addition to your growing media or solution. You should begin applications during the plant’s early stages of vegetative growth. And make sure you decrease applications once plants begin to flower.
 
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TheMaverickFarmer

TheMaverickFarmer

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Diatomaceous earth could be a good source if you're in soil, I've never worked with hydro, probably a liquid form like Power Si, Gro-Silic or similar would be best for hydro/soilless
 
Anthem

Anthem

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So best cheap source of silicon? Any recommends?
Kind of a loaded question. If you are in soil you can use a product that contains potash. But you would have to keep a live rez in hydro or coco. The potash needs to be broken down by Microbes to make the silica available to the plant. Your best bet is going to be mono silic acid. Power Si or salicium as the silica is more available to the plant. There is a couple more but these are not inexpensive products to use and they do work well. You will immediately notice a difference in your plants overall stem and branch size.
 
2Bad

2Bad

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Kind of a loaded question. If you are in soil you can use a product that contains potash. But you would have to keep a live rez in hydro or coco. The potash needs to be broken down by Microbes to make the silica available to the plant. Your best bet is going to be mono silic acid. Power Si or salicium as the silica is more available to the plant. There is a couple more but these are not inexpensive products to use and they do work well. You will immediately notice a difference in your plants overall stem and branch size.
Im in coco I didn't use silica much the first grow until near the end of veg and I started with RAW silica it seemed to work idk for sure. Now im running Armor SI and I can't tell if its working tbh.
 
Anthem

Anthem

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Im in coco I didn't use silica much the first grow until near the end of veg and I started with RAW silica it seemed to work idk for sure. Now im running Armor SI and I can't tell if its working tbh.
I looked up the Raw and found it is Potash and I tried to find out what is in the Armor SI but it looks to be the same based on the numbers. If you have the bottle of SI take a look and it will probably say 3 percent Potash which is the type of silica that needs to be broken down to be available to the plant. It takes some time for this to occur. There is a video with the guy that makes Power SI and the folks at Jacks 321 that explains the whole thing in detail but I can tell you from my own experience using a product with Monosilic Acid VS a product that Potash is the main ingredient for Silica there is no comparison. About a 30 to 50 percent stem and structure increase using a Monosilic product.
It is just really a bummer the way the nutrient companies have placed themselves for the most part. There are some legit companies but most are just full of shit. Do not fall for the guy at the hydro store pushing products. There are 2 reasons. #1 the reps give these guys free nutrients to so they will tell the public they use this or that and #2. The cost is much higher from the hydro store. Just start looking into dry salt nutrients. There is no magic in the bottle.
 
2Bad

2Bad

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I looked up the Raw and found it is Potash and I tried to find out what is in the Armor SI but it looks to be the same based on the numbers. If you have the bottle of SI take a look and it will probably say 3 percent Potash which is the type of silica that needs to be broken down to be available to the plant. It takes some time for this to occur. There is a video with the guy that makes Power SI and the folks at Jacks 321 that explains the whole thing in detail but I can tell you from my own experience using a product with Monosilic Acid VS a product that Potash is the main ingredient for Silica there is no comparison. About a 30 to 50 percent stem and structure increase using a Monosilic product.
It is just really a bummer the way the nutrient companies have placed themselves for the most part. There are some legit companies but most are just full of shit. Do not fall for the guy at the hydro store pushing products. There are 2 reasons. #1 the reps give these guys free nutrients to so they will tell the public they use this or that and #2. The cost is much higher from the hydro store. Just start looking into dry salt nutrients. There is no magic in the bottle.
Raw silica is made of Silicon Dioxide is that Potash? what makes something potash?

Edit: im really confused on this stuff. So I appreciate you explaining it.
 
Anthem

Anthem

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Raw silica is made of Silicon Dioxide is that Potash? what makes something potash?

Edit: im really confused on this stuff. So I appreciate you explaining it.
I can explain it and you MIGHT remember but if you learn it you will understand it and remember it. So I am going to ask you to learn it.
Everything you want to know about Silica and a lot of other bio stimulants and Ferts is well covered in this thread. I have read this thread several times and will a good book or a good movie I keep learning every time I reread the thread.
 
Anthem

Anthem

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Use the link in the last post to Ballon on a budget. I thought that was the thread but just a link in the comments.
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

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Use the link in the last post to Ballon on a budget. I thought that was the thread but just a link in the comments.
Direct link: Ballin' on a budget

 
F

FranJan

3
3
Diatomaceous earth could be a good source if you're in soil, I've never worked with hydro, probably a liquid form like Power Si, Gro-Silic or similar would be best for hydro/soilless

Hi TMF thanx for the info.

So I'm wondering what your opinion is about this product and their statement about OSA/MSA. This is my silica treatment of the month atm :).

Trte


What kind of silica is in Silica Gold?
"Silica Gold is derived from two sources of silicon. It contains both organo-silicates from plant extracts and potassium silicate that we micro-chelate with organic acids to create an ultra bio-available formula. The most important part of Silica Gold is the benefit of these two sources. Organo-silicates can absorb immediately and are the organic-acid chelated potassium silicate takes anywhere from 1-10 days to uptake. The combo is a steady flow of silicon for your plants."

Why is Silica Gold not made of orthosilicic acid?
"Orthosilicic acid or monosilicic acid is a very interesting topic, and we get a lot of questions about it. We engineered Silica Gold to not be made of this form of silicon on purpose, here are a few reasons you might want to consider when looking at OSA or MSA sources: 1. Orthosilicic acid can only exist in .0012% concentrations when at room temperature before changing forms and turning into a gel, which means when you buy a liquid OSA you are actually getting almost zero silicon. Silica Gold has 2500% more silica per liter than OSA or MSA products. 2. Orthosilicic acid can only exist at very low pH range. When you add it to your reservoir or your plants roots at a more normal pH of 5.5-6.5, it immediately begins to break down into non-bioavailable silicones. For this reason one of the best uses for something like orthosilicic acid is to foliar spray it, because it can absorb quickly and doesn't have time to break down at higher pH ranges."


Sales chatter or another good option? After trying a few other forms of silica I kinda gave up on MSA now after stumbling on this product and have basically just started using it on my seedlings and am going to use it up to mid flower on them.
 
Homesteader

Homesteader

3,264
263
So best cheap source of silicon? Any recommends?
If you are using a living soil then rice hull as a soil amendment will give you some silica as it breaks down. Dry weight of rice hull is 25% silcia but it takes a full year to break down completely in warm moist soil but it begins the process of breaking down within a few months. With a long veg, much of the rice hull will be turned over by microbes an consumed by the plant. Rice Hull Ash is a quick remedy as @sambapati said.
 
Masonsdad15

Masonsdad15

84
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Hi TMF thanx for the info.

So I'm wondering what your opinion is about this product and their statement about OSA/MSA. This is my silica treatment of the month atm :).

View attachment 1215996

What kind of silica is in Silica Gold?
"Silica Gold is derived from two sources of silicon. It contains both organo-silicates from plant extracts and potassium silicate that we micro-chelate with organic acids to create an ultra bio-available formula. The most important part of Silica Gold is the benefit of these two sources. Organo-silicates can absorb immediately and are the organic-acid chelated potassium silicate takes anywhere from 1-10 days to uptake. The combo is a steady flow of silicon for your plants."

Why is Silica Gold not made of orthosilicic acid?
"Orthosilicic acid or monosilicic acid is a very interesting topic, and we get a lot of questions about it. We engineered Silica Gold to not be made of this form of silicon on purpose, here are a few reasons you might want to consider when looking at OSA or MSA sources: 1. Orthosilicic acid can only exist in .0012% concentrations when at room temperature before changing forms and turning into a gel, which means when you buy a liquid OSA you are actually getting almost zero silicon. Silica Gold has 2500% more silica per liter than OSA or MSA products. 2. Orthosilicic acid can only exist at very low pH range. When you add it to your reservoir or your plants roots at a more normal pH of 5.5-6.5, it immediately begins to break down into non-bioavailable silicones. For this reason one of the best uses for something like orthosilicic acid is to foliar spray it, because it can absorb quickly and doesn't have time to break down at higher pH ranges."


Sales chatter or another good option? After trying a few other forms of silica I kinda gave up on MSA now after stumbling on this product and have basically just started using it on my seedlings and am going to use it up to mid flower on them.
Per the claims made by TPS and the references made on this thread it would seem that it's not a bad product. But you're not going to get much support if you happen to use products designed for large scale industrial grow operations here. I have found that these gentleman tend to lean towards cheap straight to the point sources of nutrients or supplements normally used in soil set ups. And for some products they do have the right idea i agree, about not getting ripped off by a simple salt and water product with some silly graffics and marketing priced high that can be made simpley at home for cheap. Look at what the pros use. Are they using Epson salts and soil? No. Why? Cause it just doesn't work for the type of scale and quick clean turn around needed for a large scale profitable operation. Look at Athena brand. It's simple. Has all the main pillars of a well rounded nutrient regime and the proof that it works with the jungle Boys product output and facility success. So short answer I'd say yes. Long answer I'd say definitely. It's cheap. It's well rounded covering many bases. But is it proven? It works for me. So yes?
 
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Flowerpower420

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Ive been using Mills "Vitalize" in conjunction with their full nutrient range. I can quite honestly say the thickness off the branches are unreal! Wether or not its the monosilicic acid in the Vitalize but im one very happy chappy and will continue to use it. Up to now ive only been using it for fertigation but i may start using it as a foliar spray aswell.

When LST i have accidentally split stems and i have found with this product that the plants act more rubbery and can be bent over alot easier without them splitting (as much) also recovering from potting up and defoliation seems to only take a couple of days over the 7 day average before using sillica.

I use it all the time now and well worth the extra!
20211005 124000


Just my 2c 👍
 
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