ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT PLANT GROWTH

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT PLANT GROWTH -...

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ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT PLANT GROWTH MG Manual Reference Ch. 1, pp. 30 - 33
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Plant growth and distribution are limited by the environment. If any one environmental factor is less than ideal it will become a limiting factor in plant growth. Limiting factors are also responsible for the geography of plant distribution. For example, only plants adapted to limited amounts of water can live in deserts. Most plant problems are caused by environmental stress, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, it is important to understand the environmental aspects that affect plant growth. These factors are light , temperature , water (humidity) , and nutrition . Light quantity refers to the intensity or concentration of sunlight and varies with the season of the year. The maximum is present in the summer and the minimum in winter. The more sunlight a plant receives (up to a point), the better capacity it has to produce plant food through photosynthesis. As the sunlight quantity decreases the photosynthetic process decreases. Light quantity can be decreased in a garden or greenhouse by using shade-cloth or shading paint above the plants. It can be increased by surrounding plants with white or reflective material or supplemental lights. Light quality refers to the color or wavelength reaching the plant surface. Sunlight can be broken up by a prism into respective colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. On a rainy day, raindrops act as tiny prisms and break the sunlight into these colors producing a rainbow. Red and blue light have the greatest effect on plant growth. Green light is least effective to plants as most plants reflect green light and absorb very little. It is this reflected light that makes them appear green. Blue light is primarily responsible for vegetative growth or leaf growth. Red light when combined with blue light, encourages flowering in plants. Fluorescent or cool-white light is high in the blue range of light quality and is used to encourage leafy growth. These lights are excellent for starting seedlings. Incandescent light is high in the red or orange range but generally produces too much heat to be a valuable light source. Fluorescent "grow" lights have a mixture of red and blue colors that attempts to imitate sunlight as closely as possible. They are costly and generally
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2011 for the course MNG 500 taught by Professor Linkiden during the Spring '11 term at UMass (Amherst).

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ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT PLANT GROWTH -...

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