Some considerations on the growth and development of crops
Dear readers, the growth and development of plants are two terms that can confuse many agronomy students because sometimes they think they are the same, but in reality they differ in that growth implies the increase in cell number and volume, while development is a set of changes that the plant has during its entire phenological stage from germination to maturity.
Growth is defined according to Di Benedetto and Tognetti (2016), as an irreversible increase in the dimensions of the plant, on the other hand, Fontúrbel, Achá and Mondaca (2007), describe it as a phenomenon of increase in biomass, by the processes of cell division that increase the size of the organism.
In this sense, Martínez and Torres, (2013), refers to growth as an increase in size, not only increase in volume, but also in weight, in such a way that it is considered as the increase in the volume and / or mass of plants with or without the formation of new structures such as organs and tissues.
According to the aforementioned, in experimental trials where it is desired to determine the growth of crops, it can be performed by observing the volume (size) increases that are often quantified approximately by measuring the expansion in only one or two directions, such as length (stem height), diameter (of a branch, trunk) or area (of a leaf), using a small ruler or tape measure, over several days, we can also use a scale to weigh the plants or parts of them, but this methodology is more feasible when the vegetative parts are passed through a stove to extract the water it contains, this methodology the limitation it presents is that the plant has to be destroyed in order to record the growth data.
An activity that they can do at home is to take some seeds of a paprika or any other plant and sow them in a plastic container, start with daily waterings and one of the plants is applied fertilizers and others not, after the plants emerge, you can start measuring with a ruler the height of the seedlings and the length of their leaves weekly, this can be done every two months, then with the data they have collected they can take an average of the height and the growth rate can be determined.
In this same order of ideas, it can be mentioned that for the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (1990), growth and development occur in two phases: vegetative and reproductive, the growth period that occurs as soon as the seed germinates until the stage when the plant is ready to bloom is what is considered the vegetative stage, this stage for crops that are used by the leaves is fundamental since, we are only interested in the vegetative growth of leafy vegetables, unless they are grown to obtain seeds. Then the stage from flowering to fruit harvest is the reproductive stage, it is the ripening period or the adult phase when the plant is capable of reproducing, for example, in cucurbitaceae and solanaceae crops, we are interested in the reproductive stage, to obtain the fruits, but the vegetative stage is equally important because the leaves produce carbohydrates and other compounds that support the growth of flowers, fruits and seeds.
Finally, to enter into the definition of development, it can be said that it refers to the difference suffered by the structures of plants during their entire phenological stage to become a mature crop, they would be changes such as, for example, germination, growth, flowering, until reaching maturity. Dear readers, as has been evidenced, growth is based on quantitative changes and is part of the development of the plant, but it is not the only indicator that can be used to determine the development of a plant, that is, the plant during its entire phenological stage undergoes different sequential changes.
Thank you for reading our article, until a next installment.
Di Benedetto, A. and J. Tognetti. (2016). Plant growth analysis techniques: their application to intensive crops. Journal of Agricultural Research (RIA), ISSN 1669-2314.
Fontúrbel, F., Achá, D. and D. Mondaca (2007). Handbook of Introduction to Botany. La Paz, Bolivia: Editorial Publicaciones Integrales.
Martínez, D. and J. Torres. (2013). Theoretical Manual: Plant Physiology. Retrieved from Benemerita Autonomous University of Puebla. School of Biology.
Asian Plant Research and Development Center (AVRDC) (1990). Training manual on vegetable production. Tainan, Taiwan: AVRDC Publication.
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