Saplings are like babies: the first weeks of life of young trees are recognized as the most dangerous

Saplings are like babies: the first weeks of life of young trees

A new research is devoted to the study of young tree seedlings. They were compared to babies. The first weeks of a young tree's life can be considered as not only the most difficult, but also the most dangerous, and during them the seedlings risk dying. For most of the seedlings, at first, the sun and water are extremely necessary. Violation of the balance leads to the fact that the seedlings do not reach the age of one month, drying up and dying.

The biologists believe that the science has a wide range of knowledge in the area, however, to nowadays, many of the mechanisms that occur the inside plants remain a mystery. At the University of Georgia, the scientists discovered special microscopic tissues that help plant seedlings in the first weeks of a tree's life.


An associate Professor Dan Johnson has been studying the young seedlings for over 20 years, and he states that the first weeks of life of any tree are fundamentally different. He and his colleagues used a synchrotron that provides powerful X-rays. With its help, the scientists obtained cross-sectional images of ponderosa pine seedlings at various stages of its growth.

The peculiarity of the synchrotron is that it can accelerate electrons to almost the speed of light. Such effect is capable of instantly killing a human cell, but plants are able to withstand such a load, albeit for a very short time. In the images, the device showed how a seedling can do without water for a day, and even when the plant begins to dry out, its core remains intact.

During the experiment, for several days, the scientists X-rayed the stems of pine seedlings. During drying, the so-called air pockets formed in the stems, thus the plant tried to get the missing moisture from the outside. The scientists assumed that the entry of air through the formed pockets would cause something like an embolism in humans.


But it did not happen, because it was not the core of the plant that dried out, but the tissue surrounding it. Some of the seedlings were in critical condition due to the lack of water, the fabric was torn into tatters, but the core was intact.

Such tissue is present in all plants, and only in old plants it degrades during drought. But the scientists made discoveries that the most vulnerable trees are in the period when they are considered as young seedlings. Loss of water is sensitive for them and the nucleus does not recover after it.