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post #91 of (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 12:41 PM
Quagulator
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My day job is selling farm inputs, and making agronomic recommendations to growers.

This is for terrestrial crops, but similar things could be happening.

If you plant corn, you want them all emerging within 48 hours of each other. That way you have a uniform stand - all the plants are at roughly the same stages throughout their lifetime. If you have a late bloomer - a plant who emerged late to the game, the other plants can sense the light being reflected off the smaller plant and they "see" that sucker plant as a "weed". Now, 2 things occur here:

1) The larger plants go into full throttle mode: They know there is a "weed" right next to them, so they put all their energy into growing up and above the "weed" so as to get ahead of it for light. They don't worry about the lower leaves or disease pressure, they only worry about achieving maximum physical size to "beat" the other, late emerging plant.

2) That late emerging plant realizes the same thing - All the bigger plants around it are "weeds" so that plant tries it's hardest to keep up - but it never can, it's just too late to the party to keep up. In focusing all it's energy on growth, the little late emerging plant is prone to pick up diseases, and be hit hard by insects etc. because its "immune system" is taking a back seat while the "growth" is taking the lead role.

This hurts both yield of the crop - because those plants are focusing all their efforts on growth vs reproduction, and it hurts quality because growth is their biggest worry, and immune response is of lesser concern.

Maybe the same thing is at play with our plants? They are "sensing" all the pressure from surrounding plants and are not focusing on health, but rather upward growth only to "beat" the other species resulting in lower leaves being shed, nutrient requirements being altered, abandoning slightly damaged tissue instead of repairing it etc. etc.

It should also be noted that when in full sun - no / low competition, plants will send out more off shoots instead of focusing on upward growth. I see this in a corn crop when the farmer plants at too low of a population - the corn will send out little sucker plantlets off the base - which are prone to disease and typically hurt yield instead of help. This means the farmer should have planted at a higher population to reduce plants sending out little suckers. Could the same thing be said with aquatic plants? Who knows, I'm just blabbering about atm. Think a standing, lone tree in a field vs the same species within a dense forest - VASTLY different growth habits.... Interesting to say the least.

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Last edited by Quagulator; 04-05-2019 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Typo - need more coffee
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