Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Canopy Cover Provides Practical Clue To Plants' Thirst

Date:
February 10, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
When plants in your garden burst forth with lush new growth this spring, they may begin to shade and cover patches that just a few months earlier were simply bare ground. When scientists describe the amount of space that plants shade or actually cover, they use the term "canopy cover." The term applies to all kinds of plants, from a ground-hugging tomato plant to a tall cornstalk.

ARS scientists are exploring the idea that canopy cover measurements can determine how much water plants have recently used and how much they'll need at the next irrigation.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Thomas Trout, ARS

When plants in your garden burst forth with lush new growth this spring, they may begin to shade and cover patches that just a few months earlier were simply bare ground. When scientists describe the amount of space that plants shade or actually cover, they use the term "canopy cover." The term applies to all kinds of plants, from a ground-hugging tomato plant to a tall cornstalk.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are exploring the idea of using canopy cover measurements in a calculation to determine how much water plants have recently used, and how much they'll need at the next irrigation.

Knowing plants' precise water needs helps reduce risk of applying too much water. Excessive irrigating can lead to leaching of fertilizer and other potential pollutants into underground water supplies.

According to agricultural engineer Thomas Trout, leader of the ARS Water Management Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo., satellite imagery of farmers' fields could be analyzed by computers to estimate crop canopy cover. Growers could visit a website to get those measurements for their fields. The figure, along with a few other pieces of information—such as locally relevant weather—could then be added to a standard equation to calculate the amount of water used and the amount now needed for each field.

The calculation could indicate, for example, that bell pepper plants in a field that has a canopy cover of 40 percent may have used one inch of water in one week, the amount the grower may choose to replenish at the next irrigation.

Trout and co-investigators Dong Wang, a soil scientist and research leader at the ARS San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center near Parlier, Calif., and Lee Johnson, a satellite imagery expert with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, are exploring this futuristic use of canopy cover measurements to save water and satisfy plants' thirst.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Canopy Cover Provides Practical Clue To Plants' Thirst." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090131122804.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, February 10). Canopy Cover Provides Practical Clue To Plants' Thirst. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090131122804.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Canopy Cover Provides Practical Clue To Plants' Thirst." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090131122804.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins