BUILDING PLANT RESILIENCE
A plant’s ability to be resilient and resist the effects of environmental stresses depends heavily on its underlying root and soil health. Like humans, plants have immune systems and a natural ability to defend themselves. Healthy plant environments, namely soil teaming with life and an abundance of beneficial microbes, have been scientifically proven to activate and enhance the ability for plants to protect themselves. This ability is referred to as induced systemic resistance (ISR), which is included as a ‘mode of action’ in biological pest control solutions. Using beneficial fungi, EcoBuz Root Pro, which supports a strong and disease-free root system, helps to strengthen the plant’s immune system and its ability to fight off disease. A plant with root disease, for example, stands little chance of fighting off frost.
Silica is one of the ingredients in Start Gro and builds resistance into plants by hardening their outer walls from the roots through to the top of the plant. Seventy percent of soils are deficient in silica. Insects and disease will bypass this plant, looking for a weaker one with an easier way in. Another benefit of silica is that it has a direct impact on cell strength. It deposits onto plant cell cuticles, forming a mechanical barrier between the plant and the environment. It also reinforces the vascular bundles, keeping them open and leading to more efficient transportation of water and nutrients. Monthly applications of Start Gro (with silica) are recommended where any stress event is the primary concern, for example cold tolerance, frost, drought, wind, pruning, pests and disease. Silica also acts as a ‘catalyst’ of natural plant resistance mechanisms by triggering ISR. This means that where there is sufficient silica available to the plant, resistance responses are quicker.
The key to developing resilient plants is to provide healthy soil and soil structure that facilitates new root development. The Ecobuz root health programme is a combination of three different biological solutions:
Humigro – a carbon-based soil conditioner;
Startgro - a micronutrient blend (with silica) which promotes early root and shoot growth and reduces transplant stress;
Rootpro – a natural, beneficial fungus which grows symbiotically with the plant’s roots, enhancing root development and growth and controlling soil-borne diseases.
This holistic, integrated approach induces the plant’s inherent resistance mechanism.