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Dr. T. L. Senn

"Those who do not read of the advancements taking place in his own field of endeavor have no advantage over those who cannot read.
- Dr. T. L. Senn

Seaweed has been researched as much as any organic product over the years by Dr. T.L. Senn.  Anyone who has ever used liquid or dry seaweed doesn’t need any more convincing, but for the “show me” crowd – the research is there.

In 1987 he wrote a book called Seaweed and Plant Growth. He not only did research about the efficacy of seaweed as a soil amendment and foliar feeding material but its power to increase plant production from the trace minerals as well as the growth regulators. The research also proved that seaweed is an effective spray to control spider mites on infested plants. This research has been around for a very long time but people recommending the chemical treatments for spider mites such as Kelthane which is no longer on the market and other toxic materials never mentioned even the possibility of using this wonderful product.  Dr. Senn has received many awards for his research and publications, twenty of which relate to seaweed research. Seaweed can be easily found in all quality garden centers and feed stores.

Taze L. Senn, better known as Tee, was born on a dairy farm in Newberry, South Carolina in 1917. His family had been dairymen for years and Tee was accepted to Clemson College in 1935 to major in dairying. However, his first job while a student at Clemson was in the college greenhouse and it changed his life forever.

Tee SennHorticulture quickly became Tee’s passion and he changed his major during his sophomore year. After graduating in 1939, he taught for a short time at Clemson before joining the Navy and being sent to the Pacific as a Communications officer during World War II.

After the war, Tee returned to academics, receiving his Master’s degree in Horticultural Physiology from the University of Maryland. In 1958, he earned his Ph.D in Horticulture, also from the University of Maryland. That same year, he received a Danforth Teaching Fellowship, the only South Carolinian in agriculture to ever receive one. While on the Fellowship, he became interested in plant growth regulation.

It was during that time that he met a Norwegian, Per Bye Ohrstrom, an international authority on seaweed. After several conversations with Ohrstrom about the growth-promoting properties of seaweed, Tee approached the National Science Foundation seeking his first grant for seaweed research. What has followed has been over forty years of research, which has produced a growth enhancer that is totally organic and environmentally safe.

Tee has many accomplishments to his credit. In 1960 he became head of the Horticulture Department at Clemson University, a post he held until he retired as Head Professor Emeritus in 1981. During his tenure, he oversaw the creation of a garden for the blind that has been visited by people from all over the world. He has over 100 publications to his credit, including his book Seaweed and Plant Growth.

Seaweed and Plant Growth

Author(s): Senn, T. L.
ISBN: 0939241013
ISBN13: 9780939241019
Cover: Paperback
Copyright: 06/01/1987

Book Excerpts

Dr. T.L.Senn states in his book, "In recent years the results of scientific research provided evidence that seaweeds contain more than 70 microelements and that the representation in these plants is considerably higher than it is in terrestrial plants. Of organic substances, marine algae contain, in addition to carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamin substances of a stimulating and antibiotic nature." 

Seaweed contains more than 70 identified microelements plus organic compounds such as growth regulators. NPK fertilizers could not possibly contain all of the microelements and growth regulators which are contained in Sea Spray.

Dr. T.L Senn states that, "when seaweed extracts are used at the recommended times and rates it will supply the amounts of iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, boron, manganese, and magnesium that most crops require"

Plants use tiny amounts of the micronutrients often measured in parts per million or billion. This helps to explain why foliar spraying can be an effective way (in addition to soil drench) to deliver these nutrients to the plant. The plant only needs to absorb tiny amounts of the nutrients through the openings in the surface of the leaves where they are absorbed through the cell walls and translocated by the vascular system to the areas of the plant which requires them. NPK fertilizers cannot be efficiently absorbed into the plant by foliar spraying and are therefore better supplied to the plants in traditional fashion through the soil.

In addition to those micronutrients which are contained in seaweed products seaweed has been demonstrated to assist in the release of micronutrients which already exist in the soils but which are unavailable to the plant because they are in an insoluble form. Chelating (chemically altering the form) a micronutrient makes it available for use. Seaweed contains several chelating agents the most important of which is mannitol. Thus seaweed can provide more micronutrients to the plant than the seaweed itself contains.

Dr. T.L.Senn states, "Reports that seaweed releases unavailable minerals from the soil have been madeMicronutrients have many functions in crop plant growth and development. The amount and availability of micronutrients will vary with soil types and the demand by different crops. Even though the amounts required by plants are small, the micronutrients are just as essential as the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and in some areas even more so. .....Micronutrients are (also) necessary for plants in times of plant stress, such as flowering, maturing, and during periods of drought.

Tee has received awards from numerous organizations including the Outstanding Educator of America, the National Council of Garden Clubs Silver and Gold Seal Award, Clemson University Distinguished Alumnus Award and a Presidential Citation from the Garden Club of South Carolina. The Thomas Green Clemson Medallion, which is the highest honor bestowed by Clemson University, is considered his finest award.


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