There are three ways to measure plant growth by checking the physical signs, growth rate, and scientific approaches. You must know how to measure plant growth to determine if you have an underlying polytunnel problem. If your plants are not growing at a reasonable rate, then you’ll know that there must be a shortcoming in the environment.
Therefore, as a polytunnel gardener in the United Kingdom, knowing fool-proof ways to determine your plants’ growth is essential to ascertain that you meet all their needs.
Ways To Measure Plant Growth: Easy Fool-Proof Guide
The easiest and most straightforward way to measure plant growth in the polytunnel is by looking for physical signs. When starting seeds in the polytunnel, professional gardeners in the UK often recommend checking the seeds’ quality to guarantee germination. However, studies have shown that there might be a correlation in seed size to the plant’s size later on.
Therefore, you can expect large plants from large seeds to support themselves better at the start. Still, tiny seeds may produce the exact size of plants because of their higher survival rate. Use this knowledge when expecting the physical changes in the growth of your plants.
You can also measure the plant itself with a ruler or measuring tape from its base to the highest point and repeat every three days to notice a difference. Some gardeners in the UK even measure the leaves to check how many developed and their average length and width. A grid paper is an easy way to measure the surface area of each leaf.
Another popular method for measuring plant growth is by using the growth rate formula. You can create your procedure to see the average daily growth rate wherein you are subtracting the second measurement to the first and dividing the answer by the number of days in between. People in the UK usually use this general formula, and you can also use this to check the leaf growth.
You can also calculate the growth rate of fresh and dry plants. Start by weighing a plant and repeat after a month. Then you can use the formula mentioned previously.
On the other hand, putting the plant in a drying oven before weighing is another valid method. Repeat weighing after two weeks and record the numbers. Use the same formula to check the growth rate.
If you want a more scientific approach, you can measure plant growth based on its roots. However, consider this method your final option because you remove the plant from the soil in the process. For measuring plant growth using its roots, you can do the grid intersect technique and root shoot ratio.
With the former, you are laying the roots on a grid paper and counting how many times they intersect the grid. You will also measure the root length, count the number of roots, and measure its diameter. However, measuring the root diameter is especially useful for crops like carrots and beets that are prominent roots.
If you opt to measure using the root shoot ratio, you must put the plant in a drying oven and cut it from the top. Weigh each part of getting the dry weight for the roots and shoot. The root shoot ratio is also a good indicator to assess your plants’ health if you compare it to a control group.
What Makes Plants Grow
If you’re not satisfied with the findings you’ve gathered, you can learn more about what helps plants grow. In the polytunnel, you have the advantage of controlling factors such as temperature and lighting conditions. These areas ensure that the conditions indoors are optimal to support your plants specifically.
You must also understand how photosynthesis occurs in the polytunnel. After all, this is the process of making food so that the plants continue to grow and thrive. Understand the limiting factors such as carbon dioxide, water, and light intensity and check if the polytunnel provides them without limitations.
Afterwards, learn the polytunnel’s proper maintenance to ensure that potential problems like weeds, fungi, and pests are always at bay. Growing plants in the polytunnel are not always easy, but careful planning and consistency from planting to harvesting make it a worthy endeavour even for beginners.
It’s gratifying to grow plants in the polytunnel, especially when you see them thriving from seedlings. Therefore, it’s a must to know the best ways to measure plant growth. To do this, you can check the physical signs such as leaves and height, calculate the growth rate, grid intersect technique, and root shoot ratio.
They may sound intimidating at first, but these are very easy to follow. However, be aware of the proper method for your plant. For example, measuring plant growth using its roots or calculating growth rate using dry plants must be your final choice since you’re taking the plant out of its growing medium.
Overall, measuring plant growth shouldn’t be complicated. Make it a habit to determine if your plants are growing at a reasonable rate. If you’re displeased by the results, check their specific requirements, and adjust accordingly in the greenhouse.