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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 3, p. 484-487
    Received: Apr 20, 1981

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Response of Sugarcane to Silicate Source and Rate. II. Leaf Freckling and Nutrient Content1

  1. S. H. Elawad,
  2. J. J. Street and
  3. G. J. Gascho2



Sugarcane (a complex trispecies hybrid of Saccharum is one of the few agronomic crops known to be responsive to silicon. Field experiments were conducted on a Pahokee muck soil (euic, hyperthermic Lithic Medisaprist) to evaluate the effects of silicate sources and rates on the incidence of leaf freckling and chemical composition of sugarcane. Data were collected from the initial planting and the subsequent ratoon crop of variety ‘C.P. 63-588.’ Application of silicate materials increased leaf chlorophyll and decreased leaf freckling in both crops. Application of 15 metric tons/ha of silicates increased leaf chlorophyll by 78 and 65%, and decreased leaf freckling by 46 and 41% in plant and ratoon crops, respectively. Although there was no significant difference among the silicate materials in the plant crop, Florida slag increased leaf chlorophyll and decreased leaf freckling more than TVA slag and cement in the ratoon crop. Application of silicate materials increased the levels of Si, P, Ca, and Cu, and reduced the levels of N, K, Mg, Fe, Mn, and Zn in the leaf. Florida slag increased Si and P in the leaf more than the other two materials. Silicate materials also increased soil pH, soil Si, soil P, soil Ca, and soil Mg. Florida slag and TVA slag increased soil P more than cement, whereas cement increased soil pH more than either slag. The increase in leaf P is attributed to the amount and solubility of P applied and not to any solubilization of soil P by silicates.

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