Everything You Need To Know About Seaweed For Plants
There are many natural alternatives to fertilizers other than compost or worm castings. One of our most recommended natural fertilizers is seaweed extract. Marine plants are a rich source of essential nutrients plants need to grow healthy.
Seaweed extracts have been used in commercial farming for a long time. Experts believe its benefits outweigh conventional fertilizers because seaweed extract promotes stronger, healthier plants.
Curious about seaweed extract and how to apply it in your garden? This guide outlines all the essential facts you need to know about seaweed extract for gardening.
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What is Seaweed Extract?
Seaweed extract is derived from marine plants like the brown alga species of Ascophyllum, Ecklonia (kelp), and Fucus varieties. The collected seaweed is rinsed to remove salt water and then composted or fermented in water until the organic materials break into a slurry. The liquid collected from the slurry is sold as a liquid fertilizer. This slurry can be turned into a flake form for a longer shelf life.
Seaweed extract is used in gardening, sustainable farming, and commercial agriculture to boost plant health, improve soil health, and increase crop yields.
Seaweed extract is an excellent source of minerals and bioactives plants need to grow strong and healthy. Marine plants also contain hormones and amino acids that strengthen plant cells, making crops more resilient to weather changes.
Seaweed extract is often diluted in water and used as a foliar spray for plants and soils. You can also apply the extract directly into the soil for a quick boost of nutrients. It can be used as a root drench in hydroponic gardens. Seaweed extract can be used alone or combined with other natural fertilizers to boost soil fertility.
Factors to Consider Before Application
Choose high-quality products: To start, buy only high-quality seaweed extract. Potency is vital in these kinds of products, and low-quality seaweed products may not be as effective no matter how carefully you apply them.
Choose non-heated seaweed extract: Choose seaweed extract that’s been fermented at room temperature instead of heated. Heat treatment affects the biological activity of the seaweed extract. This treatment also affects the configuration of amino acids in the product.
Rate of dilution: Seaweed extract is highly concentrated regardless if it comes in a liquid or flake form. It should be diluted into a solution to avoid causing nutrient burns in plants. Generally, you should dilute in 50 times water, which equates to about 4 to 5 tablespoons per gallon of water. For houseplants or indoor plants, dilute about a tablespoon per gallon of water. Check the label and read the application instructions for the best results.
How to Use Seaweed Extract for Plants?
Seaweed extract is quite versatile; it is applied in various ways. You can dilute it in water and use it as root dip or seed treatment. You can also spray the seaweed extract solution directly on plant leaves. You can apply seaweed extract directly into the soil in diluted or flake form.
Diluted into a Solution: Dissolving an appropriate amount of seaweed extract into a solution is the most common application method used by growers. It’s the easiest and fastest way to create liquid fertilizer. Of course, knowing how much seaweed extract to use is important because how you apply it affects the product’s efficacy. Dilute one part of the seaweed extract in 10 parts water. Use the solution to spray plants or in a watering can to hydrate crops. Let the liquid drip off the leaves.
Direct into the Soil: Seaweed extract can be applied directly into the soil as a soil drench solution. This strategy works best for boosting soil fertility in the long term, which leads to better plant growth. It’s also perfect for plants with weak, shallow roots because the application promotes more vigorous root development. Prepare the seaweed extract according to the instructions on the label and apply every 2 to 4 weeks for the best results.
Seed treatment: Seaweed extract is known to accelerate germination and root development. This makes the material perfect for creating seed soaks. Dissolve an appropriate amount of seaweed extract in water to create the seed treatment. Soak the seeds in the solution for several hours before sowing.
As you can see, seaweed extract can be applied in different ways. However, overuse can lead to nutrient imbalance. Use seaweed extract and other natural fertilizers in moderation.
Benefits of Seaweed Extract on Soil and Crops
The benefits of seaweed extract have been proven by science, which explains why it’s so widely used in sustainable farming and agriculture. Here are just a few of its benefits on soil and crops:
Unique Seaweed Nutrients: Fermented seaweed extract contains a unique set of organic nutrients and components not found in regular fertilizers, such as polysaccharides, alginic acid, auxins, cytokinins, and betaines. These nutrients boost plants’ immunity from diseases by neutralizing oxidative stress.
Essential Minerals: Seaweed is an excellent source of micronutrients and trace mineral elements. Marine plants are a great source of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which plants need to grow healthy. Applied regularly, seaweed extract protects plant cells from severe climate changes, diseases, and pests.
Growth hormones: Seaweed extract accelerates plant growth and root development because it contain growth hormones. These hormones are unique to marine plants. These hormones are ethylene, auxins, abscisic acid, cytokinins, and gibberellins. By making nutrients available for absorption, plants are not spending their energy creating certain nutrients for food. That energy is spent on other growth processes.
Bioactive carbohydrates: Marine plants are rich in alginic acids, which form large molecules in the soil. This improves the soil’s ability to hold water while also improving soil texture. The laminarin in seaweed extract neutralizes pathogens that can make plants vulnerable to pests and diseases.
Apart from infusing the soil with the nutrients above, seaweed extract promotes soil fertility and boosts nutrient uptake in plants. When the soil is rich in nutrients and plants can absorb these nutrients efficiently, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest at the end of every growing season!
Why use chemical fertilizer when you can amend the soil with a potent natural soil conditioner like the ECOgardener seaweed extract?
Harness the fantastic benefits of marine plants to boost the health of your garden. This is a sustainable, eco-friendly soil conditioner that can be applied in various cropping systems. Buy the ECOgardener seaweed extract here.