July 03

Climate Change: The Effect On Plants

A great challenge to those who make their living by growing and selling plants is beginning to rear its ugly head. The catalyst of this challenge is climate change.

In a decade-long study conducted by Northern Arizona State University, it was determined that initially, climate change helps the plants grow rapidly, but then proceeds to stunt the plants growth and causes them to deteriorate quickly.

“We were really surprised by the pattern, where the initial boost in growth just went away,” said Zhuoting Wu, NAU doctoral graduate in biology. “As the ecosystems adjust, the responses changed.”

Science Daily – http://www.sciencedaily.com/

The initial reaction from the plants was very positive, but that ultimately led to their deteriorating over time.

“Faster nitrogen turnover stimulated nitrogen losses, likely reducing the effect of warming on plant growth,” Hungate said. “More generally, changes in species, changes in element cycles — these really make a difference. It’s classic systems ecology: the initial responses elicit knock-on effects which here came back to bite the plants.”

Science Daily – http://www.sciencedaily.com/

What does this translate to for the horticulture industry?

It would seem that a majority of plant growing is going to have to be moved indoors to a climate controlled environment as the warmer environment is encouraging more rapid growth of invasive species that smother cash crops and unhealthy plants that bloom quickly and deteriorate more rapidly than normal.

It is also believed that as the climate continues to change, that winters will become milder with a lot more precipitation and summers will become warmer and drier with extended droughts. Many horticulturists will have to have irrigation systems that collect water during the winter for spaced out dispersion in the summer months.

It is important to have irrigation systems collect water as water use during droughts could become limited by law.

A unique challenge lies in front of all horticulturists with the onset of climate change and we will need to adapt in order to remain profitable.

For more information visit GrowPro.

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