Effect of Salt on Plant Growth

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It has been often observed that when salt is poured onto roads, the grass nearby the road will fade after a period of time. Alternatively, the grass may exhibit features of stunted growth. For example, it may become yellowish. This experiment will seek to determine whether salt indeed affects plant growth and the circumstances necessary for such scenarios.

Literature Review

High concentrations of sodium chloride (salt) negatively affect the growth of plants. Low salinity, on the other hand, leads to quickened growth. High levels of salinity prevent uptake of water by plants. If plants do not have sufficient water, chemical processes that enable them making food will be prevented (Blaylock, 1994). As a result, leaves may become yellowish and reduced in size.

Research Hypothesis

High concentrations of salt negatively affect grass growth.

Prediction

If salt is poured onto grass, then the grass will show characteristics of stunted growth; if pure water is poured onto grass, then growth will be normal.

Experiment

The requirements include a grass lawn, one kilogram of salt, 40 liters of water, a ruler, a mixing bowl and a stirring stick.  The lawn will be a small area, about four meters by one meter, and it will then be divided into three parts. The middle part will ensure that there is a sufficient distance between the opposite ends that will be used for the experiment. It will make sure that the grass on opposite ends does not share minerals or moisture.

The grass on one end of the lawn will be watered with two liters of water that has about 100 grams of salt dissolved in it. The grass on the other end of the lawn will be watered with two liters of pure water. The experiment should be repeated for ten days. The grass watered with salt-containing water will be the experiment, while the grass watered with pure water will be the control experiment. Measurements of the height of the grass should be taken before and at the end of the experiment. The average height should be recorded. The grass on both ends of the lawn must be of relatively same size at the beginning of experiment. The texture of grass should be felt at the beginning and at the end of the experiment.

Results

After ten days, it was observed that the grass that had been watered with salt-containing water was pale and yellowish. It had a wax-like feel. The leaves were smaller. At the beginning, it had an average height of about 6 centimeters. At the end of the experiment, the average height was 5.5 centimeters. The grass that had been watered with pure water was found to be growing normally. It had increased its height from 6 centimeters to 7.5 centimeters. Leaves were larger and the green color had not changed.

Analysis

The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of high salt concentrations in soil on the growth of grass. The yellowish color is a sign of chlorosis. The grass on this end of the lawn did not photosynthesize in the normal way, because water, a requirement for photosynthesis, was not taken sufficiently from the soil. The grass that appeared healthy was able to take up water from the soil and it, therefore, photosynthesized normally.

Conclusion

The experiment proves that salt concentration in the soil results in stunted growth. The hypothesis is therefore accepted. Further experiments should, however, be done to determine any other necessary circumstances and, therefore, help preserving the beauty of the environment, while still making sure that ice is removed from roads. Such research will help determining various salinity levels for optimum growth of various plants, appropriate methods of land reclamation and methods that will reduce land degradation (Brinkman, 1980).

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