The Ideal Vivarium: Air Flow
by, May 1st, 2012 at 10:35 AM (780 Views)
The best explanation we've found on why air management is important is from Lance Birk, author of The Paphiopedilum Grower’s Manual. Below is an excerpt:
Air movement has a critical influence upon the health of our plants. It is a life-and-death factor, ranking only slightly below the effects of over-watering, yet it is often overlooked and seldom understood. It is responsible for maintaining even temperatures and for generating humidity within the growing area, as well as for keeping fungus and bacteria in check.
‘Good air’ is that which is humid, but not saturated with moisture. It moves briskly, but not harshly. It has a clean, fresh smell to it, and makes the air around us feel ‘alive’. Warm, dry air is harmful. Saturated, slow moving or stagnant air is equally bad. The proper amount of air movement is that which balances your combination of light, watering technique and potting media, and it determines whether or not your growing conditions will be successful.
In order to get the feel of what good air is really like, take a look outside. Any time of day will do. Is there a time during which all movement stops, and not even a leaf quivers? Momentarily perhaps, but not often. Outside we may see leaves fluttering, branches swaying, or at times, even trees bending. If the movement is slow, only the leaves rustle, but with increased air movement the grasses will bend and fallen leaves will fly about. This is easy to detect, but how about the gentle breezes which can barely be noticed. Certainly they are pushing air, but just how much is moving?
Have you any idea of the volume of air that moves past you while you stand outside? If you can find someone who smokes, have her puff some smoke into the air while you study the direction in which it moves. Also, notice how rapidly it dissipates. If you were to enter your home growing area and make the same test, what would be the results? Chances are, that the smoke would linger for some time before it dissipated. Could you in fact, feel any air movement on your face?
When air movement is restricted the air becomes layered. Warm air moves upward and cold air falls. Inside an enclosure such as a home, this can provide false information about the conditions affecting the plants. A thermometer placed at eye level might be far different from one at plant level. In order to prevent the air from stagnating in layers, it is necessary to keep it moving sufficiently enough to thoroughly mix the warm with the cool. A plant needs even temperatures about it rather than having it attempt to continually adjust its growth to constant changes in temperature.
Want to learn more? Read the whole article here: http://www.lancebirk.com/downloads/CH__3.htm
Next Article: Water Movement (coming soon)
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