Seaweed and plant health

This week, Neutrog’s Microbiologist and R&D Manager, Dr. Uwe Stroeher gives us the rundown on seaweed and kelp, and how they affect your plants.

Seagrass is a plant that produces flowers. It has a root system and represents much of what you may see on the beach. Seagrass can be a good source of a number of nutrients, especially some of the micronutrients such as zinc and iron.

Then there is seaweed or kelp, which is an algae, not a plant. Kelp is special because it contains significant amounts of plant growth hormones. Kelp also helps plants to hold more water, so they become more resistant to stresses such as frost or drought. Furthermore, just like seagrass, kelp is a good source of micronutrients – even things like iodine and selenium which are lacking in many Australian soils. However, when we start to look more closely at different species of kelp, we see big differences in both their nutrient content and their plant growth-promoting efficiency.

There are different products on the market – some use Australian bull kelp, and others use kelp from the Northern hemisphere. So the big question is – what is best for your individual setting? This brings us back to what I keep talking about – diversity. At Neutrog, we use a combination of three different kelps from around the world which ensures our products have the largest diversity of active compounds, giving you the maximum benefit regardless of soil or plant type.

So what are some of these differences?

Firstly, there are differences in nutrient content including some of the micronutrients. There are also differences such as betaines, which help plants cope with stress, and there are different sterols which are lipids required for cell membranes. Some of the red and brown kelps contain the same lipids as those found in plants. Alginate is the stuff that makes kelp sticky and slimy – this is found mainly in red and brown kelp. These are known to stimulate soil fungi.  So at Neutrog we use different kelps in our biological fermentation system, and allow the bacteria and fungi which grow in our fermentation system to break down and extract the beneficial compounds in these kelps.

In addition to the kelp, GOGO Juice also contains humates, other plant growth-promoting compounds as well as a diverse range of microbes. GOGO Juice uses a natural extraction method to obtain the maximum benefit when it comes to a seaweed/kelp product.

So seaweeds not only contain plant growth hormones, but a whole range of other beneficial compounds to help your plants cope with stress, and to grow at their best. GOGO Juice doesn’t rely on a single kelp species, but uses a diversity of these algae to ensure maximum benefits to your soil and plants.

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