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Hydroponics Gardening – An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 5) Plant Growth
Plant Growth and Physiology. (part 5)
There are three classes of plants. Each of these classes metabolizes differently. The first class of succulent plants is called CAM. These plants like low light and high humidity and therefore grow indoors, in bathrooms and kitchens.
The second class of plants is called C4. These plants grow in hot arid regions and are very efficient in using both carbon dioxide (CO2) and sunlight. Most C4 plants are grasses.
The third and final class of plants is called C3. These plants combine two 3-carbon atoms together to form sugar. The chemical formula of sugar is C6H12O6 which consists of 6 carbon, 12 hydrogen and 6 oxygen atoms bonded together. Most of our favorite plants are found in this category.
How does the plant work?
Like all living things, plants also respire 24 hours a day. Each plant cell respires to make energy (the plant converts sugar into energy). Plants consume oxygen (O2) and exhale or exhale carbon dioxide (CO2).
In the same way that energy moves around the human body, water, nutrients and plant sugars constantly move around the body of plants. The leaves form circular currents with the roots. This circulation occurs as the leaves move up, water from the roots, through their xylem.
These are straw like cells found in the stem of a plant. The constant evaporation of water from the leaves draws more water from the roots and creates internal water pressure that keeps the plants rigid. Thus, when a tree is deprived of water, as in a drought, it loses its rigidity and begins to wither when the internal pressure is reduced.
The leaves return energy to the roots in the form of a sugar solution. It is transported from the leaves by the phloem of the plants. These are also straw like cells found in the stem of a plant. Thus leaves exchange sugars for water and nutrients, while roots exchange water and nutrients for sugar solutions. This fluid circulation is constant and continuous throughout the life of the plant.
Main plant parts.
The 3 main parts of a plant are roots, stems and leaves. Each of these parts is of great importance and any problem in any of them will be huge. The most sensitive part is the roots, as well as the most difficult to see if there is a problem.
The miracle of growth starts with the roots. As already mentioned, the roots transport nutrients to their leaves and the sugars in the plant are returned through the leaves. The roots also act as a storehouse for excess sugars produced by the leaves. These sugars are stored in the form of starch. The size of the root ball, and the amount of starch it can store, determines the success of the plant in terms of growth and productivity.
Root size is directly affected by moisture, temperature, available oxygen, and the supply of plant sugars transported through the leaves. According to Graham Reinders, in his book “How to Supercharge Your Garden,” one study of rye in a 12-inch pot said there were 14 billion root hairs. This case would have stretched 6200 miles (about 10,000 km) from end to end and covered an area 180 feet by 180 feet (about 55 m by 55 m). The longer the root system, the more energy (starch) it will be able to store and, therefore, the more nutrients it will be able to send to nourish the leaves. The plant will then have a strong growth potential. The end result is that the leaves will be able to transport more plant sugars to the roots and so the cycle continues.
Another factor to consider is the root medium. Plants get their nutrients from around their roots. The less energy a plant has to expend on nutrients, the more energy it will have available for growth and nutrient exchange with its leaves. Because a plant takes in most of its water through its roots, (root hairs trap water molecules around it) and expels about 99% of that water through its leaves, if the roots can’t draw enough water, it will wilt. outside of its surrounding medium.
Plants growing in the ground take moisture from the surrounding soil. This moisture usually falls into the soil as rain, and the plant absorbs the rain and its dissolved nutrients through its root hairs. After the rain stops, the topsoil dries quickly as the water seeps into the soil. As this dries out, the plant has developed a means of absorbing oxygen through its upper roots. The upper third of the roots becomes specialized as “air roots” while the lower third becomes specialized as “water roots”.
It is important to ensure that the aerial roots are not kept constantly wet as this will drown the plant. However, water roots can be kept wet all the time, as there is enough dissolved oxygen in the water. Insufficient oxygen causes brown, discolored root tips and subsequent infections. Healthy roots have a crisp, white-looking structure.
A plant is able to live a healthy life with roots exposed to light as long as they stay wet. However, the light will encourage the growth of algae which will cause the smell. Algae will compete with plants for oxygen and nutrients in light during dark periods. Of course this would mean that the plant would have to work harder to produce enough sugar to meet its needs. The oxygen produced during the dark period is used to help the roots convert these sugars, from the leaves, into energy (starch).
Copyright (C) 2004, 2005.
JR Houghton. ITEC MIPTI
—All Rights Reserved—
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