Seaweed Extracts: Beneficial Plant Nutrients from the Sea
There are many bio-stimulant products on the market, and they all have their place. But if I had to choose only one organic bio-stimulant to add to my fertilization program, it would definitely be kelp! It can be used as a seed treatment, a root treatment, a compost activator, a foliar spray, a growth regulator, a trace mineral supplement, a stress reducer, or an organic soil amendment! That’s because seaweed doesn’t contain just one active ingredient; it contains a multitude of organic and inorganic nutrients, providing a wide range of benefits to the plant.
The best kelp extracts come from Ascophylum nodosum, brown seaweed that grows in the mineral-rich waters of the North Atlantic. It thrives in what is known as the “littoral zone”, the tidal areas close to the shoreline. As rivers flow to the sea, they strip trace amounts of all of the minerals they come in contact with along the way. So the littoral zone is a teaming with mineral nutrients in much higher concentrations than found in terrestrial zones. As seaweed grows, it accumulates over 60 trace elements, with some recent studies finding as many as 72!
Some of the elements in seaweed are essential for plant growth. Essential elements are required by plants to grow and reproduce, and if the plant lacks even one of them, it cannot survive. Kelp includes all of the essential elements plants need, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and all of the essential trace elements. But seaweed extracts also include a vast array of “beneficial” trace elements. Beneficial elements are not essential for plant growth, so if a plant lacks one or more of them it will still survive. But many of the beneficial elements in seaweed have shown to have positive effects on plant growth and stress resistance, or are essential to the people or animals that consume them!
Scientists have much to learn about trace elements, some of which have benefits in the part-per-million or even part-per-billion range, but progress is being made. For example, cobalt is not an essential element for plants, but it is essential for the microorganisms that fix nitrogen from the air. Silicon strengthens plant tissues and is part of the plant’s natural defense system against fungal attacks. Vanadium aides in nitrogen metabolism. And trace amounts of iodates improve plant production, while simultaneously acting as an essential element for human beings. With over 60 trace elements, seaweed increases plant health while improving the nutritional value of food.
In addition to minerals, seaweed is loaded with some of the finest bio-stimulants currently on the market. Kelp includes:
• Amino acids; which aid in the uptake of minerals
• Manitol and other sugars; which chelate trace elements and energize beneficial microorganisms
• Betaines; which stimulate chlorophyll production and aid in stress resistance
• B-vitamins; which increase cellular metabolism and activate the plant’s natural defense system
• Natural Growth Hormones; which stimulate seed germination, root growth, lateral bud development and earlier fruiting and flowering.
RAW Soluble Powdered Nutrients
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