Converge Horticulture is a calcium silicate based media amendment and media conditioner specifically designed to integrate within sustainable horticulture and nursery management practices with emphasis on improving unfavorable characteristics in soilless substrates as well as increasing the physiological adaptive capacity of plants to tolerate abiotic stresses.
Researchers worldwide have found the silicon constituent of Converge to be provide functionally unique benefits to horticulture and nursery production. Once silicon is released from Converge granules, it becomes involved with a number of biogeochemical reactions improve the medium’s physical characteristics. But its benefits to plant products goes much further, as many horticultural plants have shown a preference to silicon and once it is absorbed into plants, silicon becomes involved biochemically with a number of biological processes that elevate plants’ defense mechanisms, effects a more efficient and effective plant response to abiotic stresses, improves photosynthesis and protects against toxic metals.
Medium pH often exerts a great deal of control over the chemical reactions that determine nutrient availability. In greenhouse and nursery substrates, pH can be quite variable has demonstrated that it can change dramatically throughout production timeframes.
When Converge is added to the media and irrigated, it reacts with water and 2 hydrogen ions to form monosilicic acid. This requirement for 2 hydrogen ions in addition to water, removes the acidic ions from the media solution and increases pH. In addition, the reaction releases its calcium constituent which increases calcium cation levels that can significantly contribute to the removal of H and Al on substrate surfaces – thus reducing reserve acidity as well as increasing cation exchange capacity.
Correcting Metal Toxicity
Silicates released in the medium solution following application of Converge also serve to reduce metal toxicity of toxic metals such as aluminum, manganese and iron by forming complexes that result in their immobilization, detoxification and precipitation. Silicates formed following Converge application are also capable of detoxifying heavy metals.
Improving Plant Resistance to Abiotic Stress with Converge
There is general agreement that silicon is biochemically active -- interacting with numerous enzymes, hormones and proteins to alter plants’ metabolism and physiological activities -- particularly in plants subject to stress conditions.
Silicon’s also has the unique ability to modulate key areas of the stress transduction signal response pathways to effect increases in enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant production --mitigating the negative effects of many stresses such as heat, cold, drought, UV-B rays, salinity and metal toxicity.
Improving Tissue Strength
Absorbed is transported to a number of locations in the plant. Silicon has been found to strengthen outer tissues of the plant (stronger branches and stems) and reduce cuticular transpiration in leaves as well as creating barriers that improve plant resistance to foliar diseases and insects. Silicon also increases cell wall elasticity during elongation (growth) followed by strengthening of wall tissues.
Silicon has also been proven to increase chlorophyll production and photosynthesis when plants are subject to stress conditions as well as reduces manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe) toxicity.
Improving Plant Resistance to Salinity with Converge
One of the most important mechanisms of plant resistance to salinity is to control Na+ uptake and prevent its excessive accumulation in plant tissues. Silicon considerably lowers the concentration of potentially toxic Na+ ions and prevents their translocation to aerial parts of plants by blocking pathways to the xylem.
Summary of Plant Benefits
To summarize, most researchers point to the following areas where silicon made improvements at the physiological and whole-plant levels:
- Structural enhancements in cell walls, xylem and epidermal regions of turfgrass
- Regulation of gene expression to overcome negative effects of abiotic stress
- Modulation of response pathways to increase antioxidant production
- Immobilization and neutralization of toxic metals