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Carbohydrate accumulation

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Ignacio del Rey
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Table of contents: Carbohydrate accumulation

The accumulation of carbohydrates is an extremely important process for the correct development of the crop, but, What is it for? The sugars produced during the photosynthesis are not used immediately during the breathing. Much of what is produced is stored in different parts of the plant for times of need.

The carbohydrates produced are used to drive the biochemical reactions that enable plant growth.

When the photosynthesis is rapid but the growth and breathing is slow, carbohydrates accumulate in different parts of the plant, from the roots through the crown to the stems. A very common time for carbohydrate accumulation is late autumn. At that time temperatures drop, so growth is limited, but there is still enough sunshine for rapid photosynthesis. These accumulated reserves will be used slowly during the winter to keep the individual in a good physiological state, albeit lethargic. At the onset of spring the remaining carbohydrates will be used to fuel the vigorous growth facilitated by the mild temperatures and progressively increasing insolation.

Areas of increased carbohydrate accumulation
The autumn accumulation serves to get through the winter and the vigorous spring growth.

These accumulated carbohydrates are especially important in spring. It is very common for night frosts to occur during this time of year. However small these frosts may be, they have the potential to damage the plants. newly sprouted succulent tissues. Damaged tissues cannot grow and the plant, thanks to the accumulated reserves, will be able to develop new growth.

During spring development, the shoots take priority over the roots in terms of carbohydrate use, as it is the shoots that will produce new carbohydrates when they are developed. Therefore, a lack of carbohydrates will lead to a severe loss of the root system.

Damage caused by traffic on icy areas

As explained above, the accumulation of sugars in the plant is a crucial activity for its development and survival. A plant well nourished with sugars will have the ability to defend itself against pests and to rebuild itself from damage caused by stress.

Caretakers of multiannual crops should always take this accumulation into account and stimulate it as much as possible. Cutting, fertilisation and irrigation should be practised to avoid excessive growth stimulation and depletion of stored carbohydrates.

Some greenkeepers think it may be a good idea to let the grassland produce seed to increase the natural seed bank of the soil. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but it has two major drawbacks.

  • The seed produced does not have the same genetics than the seed sown, as grass is an allogamous plant, i.e. it cross-pollinates in a cross-pollinated way, joining with other individuals. The only plants that would not be greatly affected would be the pure or genotypically homogeneous varieties.
  • Seed production is a physiological priority process which greatly depletes the plant's carbohydrate reserves and can lead to establishment problems at times of the year that are less favourable for the sown grass.
There are products on the market that are specifically designed to measure plant growth and health, NDVI sensors and chlorophyll meters can be very helpful in determining the health of your lawn.

CM 1000 NDVI Meter

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3 responses

  1. Very good treatment of the subject. Excellent approach from plant physiology. And contributions to different contributions to species that make up plant biodiversity.

  2. Hello
    Good evening, you could give a talk to my students of Plant Physiology, they are from Biology and I sent them this interesting topic and they liked it very much, we have a hybrid classroom and if you could schedule some time I would appreciate it very much, my class schedule is Monday from 7 am to 10 am.
    It is the Universidad Veracruzana.

    I look forward to hearing from you

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