The Impact Rainfall Has on Trees’ Roots

Trees belong to the class of organisms that are called autotrophs. An autotroph is basically a self-feeding organism and is therefore a producer of sorts, and not a consumer of anything. As an autotroph, a tree is a producer of complex organic compounds such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from the simple substances that exists in its environment. It uses light energy by the process of photosynthesis in producing these organic compounds. Rainwater or rainfall plays a significant role in this process. It is the most natural method by which plants and trees obtain their moisture requirement. It is actually a water cycle as will be explained in this article. This will also show the impact of rainfall on the roots of trees.

Rainwater Is More Beneficial Than Tap Water

Rainwater is vastly different in quality than tap water. The typical tap water available from the city mains has chemicals added to it and is treated to make it safer to drink. Tap water is also recycled to be later consumed by humans and animals. Rainwater is free from all human intervention and is therefore purer in quality, has higher oxygen level and free from harmful additives. Trees, being autotrophs, are capable of creating chemical energy and are also able to reduce carbon dioxide to produce organic compounds for biosynthesis.

Forests Produce Our Water Supply

Due to environmental pollution, the world’s supply of potable water is shrinking. At the same time, our consumption of water is continuously rising with land development and food production as the biggest consumer of all. Deforestation and land development are also the main causes why our supply of potable water is shrinking. It is in the world’s forests where most of our waters are produced. Some of our water supply comes from the condensed water vapors from the sea. However, this source of water only reaches our coastal areas.

The bulk of our water supply therefore comes from our forests. So, if our forests are continuously decimated, we will lose the majority of our water supply. Our forests feed our rivers. They keep our rivers running 24/7 and the whole year round from their excess subterranean supply. Water also comes from the rainfall which is also produced by the trees. So, it is really a cycle of sorts. At night, trees condense the water from the atmosphere through the surfaces of their leaves. The dews from the leaves drop to the ground, to the streams and to the rivers, while the excess drop down to the subterranean level.

How Rainwater Impacts The Tree Roots

During the day, water is brought up by the tree roots and as it goes up to the leaves, it evaporates which then create the clouds. The clouds are seeded by the moisture that evaporated from the leaves in the process of precipitation. The trunk of the tree is basically working as a siphoning system. Tree trunks consist of massive amounts of tubes or siphons filled with water that is coming from the tree roots. As rainwater falls to the ground, the roots of the trees are the first ones to be impacted. The process therefore starts with the tree roots.

Trees use the force that is produced by evaporation. As water enters a leaf, it is exposed to the air and evaporates. Negative pressure is developed because of this water loss due to its cohesive properties. This pulls or attracts more water inside the leaf which in turn develops a negative pressure within the whole assembly of branches and trunk. The pressure gets to a high level that can lift water from the roots to the top most part of the tallest tree in the forest. Studies have shown that a small tree can consume 100 liters per day but less than one percent of this amount is used by the tree physiologically. Most of the water is evaporated so that more water can be drawn up from the system.

This siphoning off system is one of the main reasons why trees in drier climates are shorter than trees in areas where there are more precipitations. Since the system is very similar to a siphon water column, there should always be sufficient amount of water in the ground in order for the negative pressure to work. In short, the height of the tree is dependent on the amount of water available for the roots of the tree.

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About the author: Wifred Murray

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