Silicon Fertilization Improves the Maize (Zea mays L.) Performance under Limited Moisture Supply
Field crops are subjected to numerous inconsiderate climatic hazards that negatively affect physiological processes, growth and yield. Drought is one of the major abiotic factors that limits the agricultural productivity especially in the arid and semi-arid areas of the globe. Silicon (Si) is a naturally occurring beneficial nutrient which modulates plant growth and development events and has been known to improve the crop tolerance to abiotic stresses. With the objective to investigate the role of silicon nutrition on maize hybrids under limited moisture supply, a two year field study was conducted during 2010–11 at Post Graduate Research Station (PARS), University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan. We evaluated growth of two maize hybrids P-33H25 and FH-810 under well watered (100% field capacity) and water deficit situation (60% field capacity) as affected by Si application. Silicon was added in soil @ 100 mg/kg using Calcium Silicate as source. Water deficit condition significantly reduced agro-morphological and physiological attributes of maize plants. Silicon application significantly increased the plant height, leaf area index, yield and related attributes along with improvement in photosynthetic rate, leaf water status and osmotic adjustment under limited moisture supply. It was concluded that silicon application to drought-stressed maize enhanced its growth and yield owing to improved photosynthetic rate, higher osmotic adjustment, increased water status and lowered transpiration.
Keywordswater deficit silicon hybrid maize gaseous exchange water relations yield
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The work reported in this manuscript is a part of research work being conducted by PhD scholar Muhammad Amin whose study was funded by the Higher Education Commission through Indigenous Ph.D. Fellowship.
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