Water Movement in Trees and Shrubs

By The Old House Web

Water Movement in Trees and Shrubs

Plants evaporate a large amount of water through their leaves. As the water evaporates, it pulls water into the leaves through the stems and roots. The lost water is replaced by the roots' absorbing additional water from the soil.

Water movement in woody plants occurs in a thin layer of xylem cells under the bark of stems and trunks. Water movement can be disrupted by injury to the active xylem when the bark is removed or damaged by insects or disease. Such a disruption can occur in the roots, on the trunk or in the branches.

On a hot summer day, a mature silver maple can lose up to 58 gallons of water per hour. Without this water movement, trees and shrubs could not move nutrients to the leaves or carry on other vital physiological processes. An adequate supply of water is essential to manage plant health. The plant must also be able to distribute the water to all living parts. Many of the problems discussed in this publication are related to disruption in the flow of water into or within the plant.

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