Free Essay: Factors Affecting Plant Growth
Various factors affect the growth of living things. In this essay, we shall discuss the factors that affect the growth of plants. It therefore means that depending on the prevailing conditions, plants are likely to exhibit varying growth rates. Favorable conditions promote growth while hostile conditions may lead to retarded growth or death in extreme cases. As discussed below, these factors are either genetic or environmental.
The first class of factors is genetic. It is important to note that the yield of any plant depends solely on the genetic makeup. In most cases, plants increase yield with time because of genetic improvement and modification through hybrids. Besides the yield, improvement of genetic material of a plant results into high disease resistance, high quality and drought hardiness. Genetic improvement is common in corn, where other varieties have been developed by improving the genetic composition. Scientists achieve this modification through genetic engineering.
Besides genetic factors, environmental factors equally affect the growth of plants. In this context, environmental factors encompass all external conditions, which affect the life of plants. Leading environmental factors include temperature, moisture, radiation, humidity, soil aeration, soil reaction, biotic factors, and supply of minerals among others. It is important to note that each of these factors can limit the growth of plants. Furthermore, they do not affect plants independently as most of them go hand-in-hand with each other.
Temperature is a major factor that affects the growing of plants. This happens in various ways, owing to the role of temperature in various biochemical processes in plants. As a measure of heat, most plants thrive in a narrow of temperature of between 60 and 100 Fahrenheit. In particular, temperature affects respiration, photosynthesis and transpiration. All these processes are important and failure of any of them directly affects the growth of plants. For example, photosynthesis allows plants to make food while respiration enables nutrients to be converted into useful energy. Temperature also affects the presence of soil organisms like the nitrogen fixing bacteria. This bacterium does not function optimally when temperatures are low.
Another factor that affects growth of plants is moisture supply. Moisture is vital for various processes in plants. However, too much or very little moisture will adversely affect the growth of plants. Nevertheless, moisture requirements of plants widely vary, as there are plants that do well in high moisture supply while others cannot survive in such conditions. It is therefore paramount to regulate the amount of moisture for plants through either irrigation or drainage. The advantage of good soil moisture is that it enhances excellent nutrient uptake by plants, which is important for their growth.
Radiant energy is another factor that affects growth of plants. Three factors determine radiant energy; quality, duration, and intensity. It is not possible to control the quality of radiant energy but different crops need varying light energy for proper growth. Light intensity is essential because it is necessary for photosynthesis. Moreover, the composition of the atmosphere also affects the growth of plants. Plants need CO2 for photosynthesis. High levels of CO2 further help in decomposition of organic matter. In the absence of sufficient CO2, its supply could be supplemented.
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