MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences

Re: How is the ground effected when you remove a Plant?

Date: Thu Apr 6 05:05:23 2000
Posted By: Steven Seefeldt, Staff, Crop protection/weed science, AgResearch
Area of science: Agricultural Sciences
ID: 954481722.Ag

Hi Cheri,

This is a very hard question to answer.  There are alot of things that 
could happen.  I'll give you this illustration, if you were pulling up a 
plant and you got it, roots and all, then the ground around the plant would 
be loosened and if it rained, the water would be able to move into hole 
where the plant was and get into the the soil much more quickly.  However, 
if it didn't rain, the ground around the hole would dry out more quickly.  
Things that eat live roots would have to go someplace else, things that eat 
dead roots would increase in number.  There will always be some root left 
behind.  So as this root dies, bacteria and fungi will feed on it, breaking 
it down into much simpler compounds.  In the eating process, the final 
products will be things like water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen gas, and 
minerals.  Some of these simple compounds will be fertilizer for other 
plants.  If the plant was a big tree and it was cut down, a very 
interesting thing will often happen.  Because the stump and roots are very 
large they do not get broken down (eaten by fungi and bacteria) easily.  
Usually a fungus will get in through the stump and slowly work its way into 
the roots.  This type of fungus grows fairly slowly so only a few inches to 
a few feet are broken down in a year.  The fungus will grow outward from 
the stump in a ring.  With the breakdown of the root and the release of 
compounds that can be used by other plants, a ring of greener and faster 
growing plants can be found above the ring of the fungus.  When it is rainy 
the ring will often contain mushrooms which are part of the fungi that are 
eating the root.  Each year the ring gets further out from the stump.  In 
some places people call these rings 'fairy rings'.  If you look closely you 
can find these in lawns of people who have cut down trees years before.

Growing plants take things out of the soil, especially water and nutrients. 
Dying plants (roots) return their nutrients to the soil so other plants and 
animals can use them.

Hope this is helpful.


Current Queue | Current Queue for Agricultural Sciences | Agricultural Sciences archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Agricultural Sciences.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.