Friday , March 24 2017

Wind, especially strong ones, often damages plants. But wind has also some benefits. It plays an important role in pollen and seeds dispense and may also be useful in cooling plants down, provided that they have enough water to prevent desiccation. Gentle winds prevent the development of a stagnant atmosphere and deter plants diseases that might otherwise thrive.

Strong winds may discourage beneficial insects and make it difficult to control pests, diseases and weeds. Spraying is less effective in windy conditions or damaging to non-target plants due to spray drift. Many other problems are caused by the wind, but there are various ways to protect the plants.

Wind

Wind damage
The most affected plants by the wind are the ones that are planted in exposed sites. Woody plants, exposed continuously to strong winds will have their top-growth unbalanced, giving the plants a one-sided appearance. The exposed shoot tips are also likely to be damaged or scorched. Trees that grow on hill tops and on exposed, coastal sites, are also examples of plants that are going to be damaged by strong winds.

Strong winds and gales
The greater the velocity of wind, the more damage it causes. In high winds, shoots and stems of plants may be broken. In gale force conditions, trees may be uprooted or their root systems seriously weakened.

Strong winds will not only affect the garden plants, but it will also cause damage to fences, greenhouses and other structures in the garden. On sandy or peat soil, the wind may course soil erosion.

Wind scorch
High temperatures combined with strong winds will increase the rate at which water is lost from plants, leading to desiccation of leaves and shoots. Similar wind damage will occur if temperatures are too low. In these conditions plants cannot replace lost moisture if soil water is frozen.

Effects of topography
The severity of the winds depends to a large extent on topography. Coastal sites often have no natural protection from halt-laden winds coming in from the sea. Hill-top sites may be equally exposed, because the wind gusts around and over the hill.

Wind funnels are created by the channeling of air between hillsides and along valleys, through corridors of established trees, or between adjacent buildings. This has the effect of intensifying wind speed and strength. So if possible you must avoid planting in these areas.

Windbreaks are an effective means of providing shelter from wind. They may be either artificial, such as fences or screens, or natural, such as tree or shrub hedges.

How a windbreak works
It does not matter what kind of windbreak your use, but you have to make sure that is about 50 per cent permeable. Solid wind barriers will deflect the wind upwards, causing turbulence behind them. Fences or screens need to be up to 4 m high in order to offer maximum protection as a garden boundary, but if they are used only as a wind barrier they may be as low as 50 cm for low-growing plants like vegetables or strawberries. If you want to achieve the greatest benefit across a large area, you should place the windbreaks at regular intervals roughly equal to ten times their height.

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Sunlight

Sunlight plays a major role in stimulating plants growth by providing the radiant energy to raise the temperature and humidity of soil and air. For most of the plants, sunshine and a consequent high temperature encourage maximum new growth, flowering and fruiting. A warm, sunny summer will result in greatly enhanced food storage to plants and helps to firm their protective tissue, which means that better propagating material is produced and that the plants will be more resistant to the winter cold.

Daylength
The duration of daylight in a 24 hours period will vary by latitude and season. It affects flowering and fruiting of some plants which need a specific amount of daylight in a 24 hours period. According to their need of daylight, plants can be categorized as short day and long day plants. The short day plants will need less than 12 hours of daylight, while the long day plants will need more than 12 hours of daylight.

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