Monday, December 13, 2010

Wind Chill Factor and Plants

Don't worry about your plants if the wind chill is below freezing but the temperature isn't. Plants don't feel wind chill the way people do.

The term 'wind chill' was developed to express how the combination of wind speed and temperature 'feel' on exposed skin. The skin has nerves which transmit that feeling to the brain and we say, 'Boy, it sure feels a lot colder than 30 degrees with all this wind.' But the plant doesn't feel.  It has no nerves to transmit that impulse. So to use the term 'wind chill' in relation to plants is meaningless.  But that's not to say that wind and cold do not affect plants.  Wind can increase the evaporation of soil moisture, thus speeding drying and making water harder for the plant to come by. Wind also speeds evaporation of moisture from the plant surface. (Source: Rob Gough, Montana State University Extension Agent)

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