Plants make the earth greener. They are the indispensable entities of the ecosystem and are crucial in maintaining a biological balance. Plants are the primary producers supplying food to almost all terrestrial entities, including humans. They produce oxygen which is essential for cellular respiration for all aerobic entities. They also monitor the ozone layer depletion, thereby protecting livelihood from damage that can be caused by UV radiation. They are also known to wipe out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere hence reducing the global warming and greenhouse effect.
Plants, through the process of transpiration, recycle essential substances through the biogeochemical cycles which bring about tremendous movement of water from the soil to the atmosphere. Another important contribution of plants is that they fix atmospheric nitrogen to make it consumable thereby promoting plant growth. Although plants are known to be flourishing and providing with life-giving gas-oxygen, plant growth can be affected and can bring about an imbalance.
5 Factors Affecting Plant Growth
Plant growth is affected by various internal and external factors. Plant growth involves various stages such as the addition of new cells, their growth involving an irreversible increase in the volume. Hence growth is an irreversible and permanent change in the size of a cell, organ or the entire system along with the dry weight.
Listed below are some factors:
It is one of the primary factors that affect the growth of plants. Temperature impacts transpiration, photosynthesis, germination, respiration and flowering. Growth of plants is due to cellular metabolism. Metabolic activities of plants are directly influenced by the temperature fluctuation. An increase in the temperature to optimum level results in an increase in the rate of growth of plant tissues. Beyond a level, it declines when the temperature level gets extreme.
Light has two types of effects on plants, one concerns with photosynthesis and the other with morphogenesis and growth. Photomorphogenesis is the impact of light on development, growth and differentiation observed in plants that do not depend on photosynthesis. When plants are cultivated in darkness, marked etiolation is observed.
Water is significant in the growth of plants. It is used in metabolic processes and photosynthesis which is eventually lost during transpiration. Water shortage destructs plant cells, causing a decreased growth, leaf scorch, wilting gradually leading to root damage and leaf drop.
There is water stress created in plants when excess water is lost during transpiration. Hence plant growth is declined due to water stress. On the contrary, excessive water can also hinder the process of plant development. Hence plants should be nourished with adequate water only.
Plant hormones are known as plant growth regulators as they regulate the outcome and distribution of nutrients in various plant structures.
Plant growth regulators can be grouped into the following two, depending on the functions they carry out in plants:
- Growth promoting plant hormones – Involved in cell division, pattern formation, cell enlargement, flowering, fruiting, tropic growth and formation of seeds. Example: Gibberellins, auxins, cytokinins.
- Growth-inhibition – They are involved in abscission and dormancy and are crucial in responses of plants to stresses of abiotic and biotic origin and wounds. Hence these hormones are essential in the development, growth and plant differentiation. Example: Abscisic acid.
For normal growth and development, nutrients are essential in the form of inorganic ions. Most of the metabolic processes in plants necessitate inorganic nutrition. Hence plant growth relies on the supply of vital elements. Plant growth is declined when these essential elements are absent.
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