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Seaweed: Why is it so beneficial for plants?

"Call us not weeds; we are the flowers of the sea."  E.L. Aveline

 

Seaweed extracts have been proven to accelerate the health and growth of plants. The actions of it are many. We will attempt to explain some of them here for you.

Seaweed stimulates beneficial soil microbial activity, particularly in the pockets of soil around the feeder roots resulting in a substantially larger root mass. where the beneficial fungi and bacteria known as "mycorrhizae" make their home. This area of the soil is known as the "rhizosphere." The rhizosphere activity improves the plants ability to form healthier, stronger roots. Having many actions it also enhances the plants own natural ability to ward off disease and pests. A good example has been observed that aphids and other types of sap feeding insects generally avoid plants treated with seaweed. At the same time it works within the soil to make more nutrients available to the plant. The rhizosphere forms a nutrient food bank for the plant it can draw on in times of stress.
Another action seaweed has on the roots in the rhizosphere is due again to the increased mass and depth of the roots the plant is able to draw more moisture from the soil increasing the drought tolerance level. The root mass also allows the plant to more effectively absorb and use fertilizers that are applied to the plant and soil. The overall stronger root structure may help plants physically resist certain types of root diseases.

Seaweed enhances photosynthesis via increasing a plants chlorophyll levels. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color. By upping the level of chlorophyll the plant is able to efficiently harness the suns energy. Along with this seaweed contains a complex range of biological stimulants, nutrients, and carbohydrates. To date more than 60 different types of nutrients in seaweed have been confirmed. However seaweed in itself is not a plant food, rather it is classified as a "bio-stimulant."

Seaweed extracts contain natural plant growth regulators (PGR) which control the growth and structural development of plants. The major plant growth regulator are auxins, cytokinins, indoles and hormones. These PGRs seaweed are in very small quantities generally measured in parts per million. It only takes a very small amount of these to do the job.

  • Indole compounds help the development of plant roots and buds.
  • Cytokinins are hormones that promote growth via rapidly speeding up the process of cell division making seaweed extract of value in treating tissue cultures. When they are applied to foliage the leaves rejuvenate stimulating photosynthesis. Thus they stay green longer. The cytokinins in seaweed extract are a major factor when applied to apple and peach trees in promoting the growth of fruiting spurs and reduce premature dropping of fruit.
  • Auxins, also hormones, occur in the roots and stems during cell division. They move to areas of cell elongation where they allow the walls of cells to stretch. Auxins actually give fruits and vegetables a naturally longer shelf life. This is known as delaying senescense: the deterioration of cells and tissues that results in rotting.

Improved cold tolerance: We have had results with seaweed treated tomato plants that were able to take temperatures as low as 29 degrees and survive quite well. Many more cold tolerant annual flowering plants such as petunia, alyssum, and verbena were able to withstand many hard freezes and stay green and flowering. Plants that have broken dormancy too early due to unseasonable fluctuating temperatures are able to make it with the help of just one foliar application as have seedlings that were put out and left uncovered.

How can this be?
The effect of the growth regulators in seaweed fill plant tissues with hormones and minerals displacing a lot of water in the tissues. In turn this helps plants to tolerate the pressure from frost that would normally cause significant tissue damage. Polyamino compounds in seaweed also play a role in cold resistance as do abscissic acid. Seaweed as a plant supplement treatment has consistently proved to be the best treatment for preventing the threat of frost damage. For us seeing it was believing it!

Seaweed extract and insects: Once again the plant growth regulators in seaweed come into play concerning insect control. We have observed reductions in populations of aphids and flea beetles on seaweed treated plants to the point that these bugs were hardly noticed. Infestations of spider mites have been reduced by 40 to 50 percent. It is thought that the spray may have an effect in disrupting the mites reproductive capabilities.
The presence of hormones in seaweed may act to keep insects from advancing sexually rendering them incapable of reproducing. Some female insects are prevented from producing sexual scents that are needed to attract a mate.

These are some of the reasons that Golden Harvest Natural Fertilizer has seaweed extract as one of its' main ingredients. The amounts it contains are perfectly measured in the formula so there is no guess work for you in combining seaweed extract with another fertilizer product! All the ingredients in Golden Harvest work together to give your plants the absolute best! We also sell seaweed powder that works beautifully as a plant tonic on its' own in between your regular fertilizer applications.

 

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