Friday, August 22, 2008

Water and Plant Growth

Water is the most abundant material in a growing plant. The weight of water contained in a plant is usually four or five times the total weight of dry matter. Water is one of the components of
many of the complex substances found in plants, but water alone is never found in a pure state in the environment of living organisms.

Water serves many functions within the plant:

  • It helps to create a solution of mineral nutrients and the complex substances manufactured within the plant.
  • It is a raw material for the process of photosynthesis-the basic process underlying all life.
  • It acts as a temperature regulator in that water vapor given off by leaves produces a cooling effect.
  • It even acts as a structural agent. When plant cells contain an abundance of water they are turgid and the plant stands erect; when there is a moisture deficiency, the cells are flaccid and the plant droops and wilts.
  • Water dissolves the soil minerals which are essential to plant growth and the major part of plant nutrients are believed to be taken into the plant while they are in solution.
  • Water moving through the soil performs a function in the flushing of pore spaces aiding in gas exchange.
  • Water is the key to the plant regulating it temperature. Water is given off by the leaves through the process of transpiration, and the evaporation of this water creates a cooling effect.