Kelp, also known as seaweed, is a natural product derived from marine algae and is gaining popularity in agriculture as a biostimulant. Kelp-based biostimulants contain various bioactive compounds, including plant growth regulators, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and carbohydrates. When applied to plants and soils, kelp-based biostimulants have been reported to enhance plant growth, improve stress tolerance, and boost overall plant health. Here’s how kelp is used as a biostimulant:
1. Plant Growth Promotion:
- Auxins and Cytokinins: Kelp contains natural auxins and cytokinins, plant growth hormones that promote cell division, shoot growth, and root development. These hormones play a crucial role in stimulating plant growth and increasing yield.
- Gibberellins: Kelp-based biostimulants often contain gibberellins that aid in stem elongation and overall plant development.
2. Stress Resistance and Tolerance:
- Abiotic Stress Tolerance: Kelp-based biostimulants help plants tolerate various abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, and temperature extremes. They enhance the plant’s ability to cope with adverse environmental conditions.
- Osmoprotectants: Compounds present in kelp help in osmoregulation and act as osmoprotectants, enabling plants to maintain cell turgor and survive under stressful conditions.
- Antioxidants: Kelp contains antioxidants like polyphenols, which help plants combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
3. Nutrient Uptake and Efficiency:
- Chelating Agents: Kelp-based biostimulants contain natural chelating agents that can improve nutrient uptake by plants. Chelation makes essential nutrients more available and easily absorbed by plants.
- Stimulated Microbial Activity: Kelp-based products can enhance soil microbial activity, improving nutrient cycling and nutrient availability to plants.
4. Root Development and Soil Health:
- Improved Root Growth: Kelp-based biostimulants encourage strong root development, promoting a healthy root system that is essential for nutrient uptake and overall plant health.
- Soil Structure and Fertility: The organic matter in kelp contributes to improving soil structure, fertility, and water-holding capacity.
5. Biofortification and Nutritional Value:
- Enhanced Nutritional Content: Kelp-based biostimulants can lead to enhanced nutritional content in crops, making them more nutritious for human and animal consumption.
6. Disease Resistance:
- Induced Resistance: Kelp-based biostimulants may trigger the plant’s natural defense mechanisms, promoting resistance to diseases and reducing the need for chemical treatments.
- Foliar Application: Kelp extracts can be diluted and applied as foliar sprays, allowing for rapid absorption and utilization by plants.
- Soil Application: Kelp extracts can be applied directly to the soil, improving soil health and promoting nutrient uptake by plant roots.
- Seed Treatment: Kelp extracts can be used as seed treatments to enhance germination and early seedling growth.
- Quality and Source: Ensure the kelp-based product is of high quality and sourced from reputable suppliers to maximize the benefits.
- Consistency: Regular and consistent use of kelp-based biostimulants can provide the best results in terms of plant growth and stress tolerance.
Kelp-based biostimulants are a sustainable and eco-friendly option for enhancing plant growth and improving crop yield and quality. However, it’s important to integrate them as part of a holistic approach to plant nutrition and crop management for optimal results.
Talk to your OMEX representative today to learn more about our range of kelp-derived products and their use to promote growth and development and improve productivity or enhance crop or soil health.