004 Root Application of Potassium Silicate Reduce Feeding Damage to Sargent Crabapple Leaf Tissues by Adult Japanese Beetles

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  • 1 The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle, IL, 60532
  • | 2 University of Illinois, Countryside Extension Center 6438 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL 60525

Research on silicon nutrition has shown an increase in plant disease resistance to powdery mildew and pythium in some species, such as roses and cucumbers. However, the role of silicon for protecting plants from other stresses e.g., heat, drought, insects, etc., are not known. Two-year-old Sargent Crabapple Malus sargentii seedlings were subjected to 4 continuous days of 100 ml root application of potassium silicate at the rate of 0, 100, 200, and 400 ppm in Aug. 1998. After 3 days post-treatment, three detached leaves were placed in each of three petri dishes along with one adult female Japanese beetle (n = 3/concentrations) for 7 days. Potassium silicate at 100 ppm concentration significantly reduced percent leaf tissue eaten by adult Japanese beetles. There was not any statistical difference between control, 200, and 400 ppm application. The ion leakage of stem tissues of 100 and 200 ppm-treated plants were significantly lower than the control and 400 ppm. These lower ion leakage effects were also observed with red-osier dogwood stem tissues at 100 ppm. In a companion study fall webworm larvae were also exposed to the same above concentrations and treatments. There was not a significant effect of potassium pilicate on percent leaf tissue eaten by fall webworm larvae, suggesting that there may be differences between major groups of leaf-feeding insects. Leaf and root tissue analysis for Ca, K, Mg, Na, and Si will be reported.

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