The general knowledge of plant care is usually to give them sunlight, water, and some kind of fertilizer. But cultivators who are looking to get the most out of their plants/crops know there's more to it. Root zone temperature is one of those factors that should be considered if your looking for better productivity and quality from your plants.
But what makes a roots temperature so important? We’ll go over 3 reasons here:
Extend your growing season efficiently
It might seem obvious that keeping plants in a stable climate will extend how long you can maintain the productivity of your plant. But plants with controlled root zone temperatures can survive despite the above foliage being exposed to much colder conditions.
This means cultivators can conserve energy resources and increase yields by almost completely concentrating on root zone temp alone instead of the entire area where the plant is being held.
Limit your plant's stress
Maintaining the ideal temperature of the growing medium, water, and nutrients can greatly benefit the health of your plant. Plants are sensitive to temperature changes as they use them as cues to stop or begin processes and functions. But it’s the root zone of the plant that reacts to temperature. Root systems rely on the temperature of their growing medium (soil, hydro, aero, etc.) in order for the rest of the plant to function properly and healthy. Large fluctuations in temperature can cause the roots to become stressed and lead to significant effects on the overall growth.
“The more stressed a root system is the more problems a plant will have both physically and pathologically, and will become increasingly susceptible to pathogens and insects… Plants will shut down (go dormant) when the root system stops most of its function, whether this is a result of cool conditions or hot conditions. ” - Geary Coogler, BSc Horticulture, CANNA.
Increase nutrient uptake
Research has shown that plants increase their nutrient uptake when optimum root zone temperature is achieved and maintained.
“Temperature affects nutrient uptake directly by altering root growth, morphology, and uptake kinetics. Indirect effects include altered rates of decomposition and nutrient mineralization, mineral weathering, and nutrient transport processes (mass flow and diffusion).” - Pregitzer K., King J. (2005) Effects of Soil Temperature on Nutrient Uptake. In: BassiriRad H. (eds) Nutrient Acquisition by Plants. Ecological Studies (Analysis and Synthesis), vol 181. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
The overall increase in uptake not only led to better growth in roots but shoots as well. An increase in growth rate in plant height and mass has also been observed.
Overall, if you're looking to get the most out of your plant you should pay attention to your root zone temperature along with your regular routine of light, water, and nutrients. Lucky enough, there are devices, like our own Bifarm AeroXPS, that can help lessen the hassle!