Lithotamnium is a powdered product of natural marine origin.
Lithotamnium has been used for some time and with excellent results in organic farming. According to the legislation, it is a substance to be considered invigorating, and increases the natural defense of plants. It is therefore able to protect crops from harmful parasites and fungal diseases.
Due to its nature, lithotamn is also used to naturally correct the pH of the soil.
From the point of view of physical consistency, lithotamn is a fine powder obtained from the grinding of some marine calcareous sediments. In particular, coral red algae of the Lithothanium calcareum species, present in the seas surrounding the region of Brittany.
This product is found on the market and is often referred to as calcareous algae flour, or algae limestone.
Lithotamnium has a rather simple composition, its components are:
– calcium carbonate, 80%;
– magnesium, 15%;
– various microelements, 5%.
Due to its particular composition, lithotamn is used where rot problems arise.
Uses of lithotamnium –
This product is useful, for example, to prevent the apical rot of the tomato, that is the typical “black blow” that occurs under the ripening fruits, which makes them inedible.
It is known that the main cause of this phytopathology is the lack of calcium in the soil. Since lithotamnium is 80% composed of calcium carbonate, in soils where this type of problem is encountered, before starting to cultivate, it is useful to sprinkle the lithotamnum powder and amend it on the soil itself.
Another use, in addition to that of the apical rot of tomatoes, is that of correcting soils with acid pH. Most crops do not grow well on acid soils, the acidophilic ones are obviously an exception.
For pH correction, lithotamnium powder is very useful due to its high content of calcium carbonate.
The dosage to be used to correct the pH of an average acidic soil is 300 kg per hectare, or 10,000 square meters.
Consequently, in proportion, 3 kg per 100 square meters of land are enough.
Due to its composition, moreover, lithotamn, using the powder adequately dissolved in water, can also be used on the aerial part of plants for the prevention of fungal diseases. In this sense, it performs a corroborating function to increase the natural defenses of the plant system. This powder, placed on the leaf limb, creates an environment hostile to the proliferation of pathogens, such as downy mildew and powdery mildew.
In this case, just prepare one with about 4 kg per 100 liters of water.
Naturally, the product was washed out with water, so the intervention must be repeated after abundant rainfall and, in any case, carried out in the coolest hours of the day and never in full sun.
Pesticide function –
Lithotamnium, both for its composition and for its particular pH, has an excellent anti-parasitic function. One of the mechanisms is related to its very fine particle size, which for the chewing apparatus of some insects becomes extremely sharp. Therefore, it also has an abrasive action and can be used for insects such as: cabbage larvae, Colorado potato beetle, box borer, etc.
Furthermore, since the patina that is created when we distribute it on the leaves, this hinders the oviposition of many insects.
Amendment function –
Lithotamnium can be added directly to the soil or to home compost. In this case, it mitigates them bad and caused by the excessive presence of nitrogenous substances, such as fresh kitchen waste; it also provides microelements that accelerate the composting process. To do this, the lithotamnium powder must be integrated with the compost with a very low dosage (about 2%).
Other uses –
One of the interesting uses is that of adding this compound in the root harnessing technique. This ancient peasant practice, which consists in the preparation of a muddy mush in which bare root trees are immersed, before they are planted in the ground can receive a great contribution from the addition of lithotamn.
The mush that is prepared for the dressing includes water, earth 50%, fresh manure without straw 50%; in this sense, to improve its effectiveness, just add a little lithotamnium powder.
Recommendations and useful information –
Lithotamnium powder has no toxicity level for plants or, obviously, for the soil and is allowed among the products that can be used in organic farming as per Regulation (EC) no. 889/2008.
There are no contraindications for humans, it is not harmful except that, being a very fine powder, the necessary precautions must be taken when handled, so it is best not to inhale the dust, which could cause respiratory problems.
In this sense, when using lithotamn, for any use it is good to wear a protective mask with a filter specific for agriculture.