What are biostimulants?
Biostimulants are specialist substances designed to foster plant development from germination to maturity. They can be applied to plant, seeds or soil, as well as any other growing media that may enhance the plant’s overall ability to develop and gather nutrients.
In the hydroseeding industry, biostimulants are typically used by contractors to stimulate grass seeds. More widely, these mixtures are made up of diverse formulations of compounds, substances and micro-organisms that help improve crop vigour, the size of yields and quality.
This is distinctly different from the benefits provided by traditional fertilisers, for example. The primary difference between biostimulants and fertilisers is that while a fertiliser must provide nutrient as its main function, biostimulants promote plant growth by other means than just providing nutrients.
What do they do?
Biostimulants influence several metabolic processes such as respiration, photosynthesis, nucleic acid synthesis and ion uptake. Given their proven success in the hydroseed industry, they have become increasingly more popular across Europe. With further acceptance from NGOs, governmental bodies and academia, they are becoming a popular choice in various industries. Some reasons for this include:
- Improves the efficiency of the plant’s metabolism to bring about increases in yield and crop quality;
- Increases the plant’s tolerance to abiotic stress, as well as aiding in their recovery;
- Enhances the quality attributes of plants or lawns. For example, they can enhance the depth of colour, sugar content, fruit seeding, etc;
- Increases soil fertility, particularly by fostering the development of complementary soil micro-organisms.
Why use biostimulants?
Biostimulants are not fertilizers; instead of providing nutrients, they operate through different mechanisms and compliment the cultivation of organisms in the surrounding soils. By incorporating them into the hydroseeding mixture, fertiliser use can be reduced greatly thanks to the positive affects biostimulants have on the soil environment around the seed. Similarly, biostimulants differ from crop protection products because they act only to help the plant’s vigour and stimulate growth – they do not have any direct actions against pests or disease. This means that crop biostimulation should be complementary to crop nutrition and crop protection.
Biostimulants, however, should not be used as a replacement for good agronomic practices – specifically regarding nutrition and protection. That being said, they can be used to maintain high levels of soil microorganisms and have a proven record for keeping turf healthy, hardy and thriving during periods of intense stress.
For more information on biostimulants, contact Oliver Brown by clicking here or call 08453073774.