April 23, 2013
Thirsty Trees make Thirsty Sounds
The sputter of a straw slurping up the last of your favorite drink is a sound both annoying to your friends and disappointing to you. But, as it turns out,  it’s not something relegated to the human experience.
Scientists from Grenoble University in France have discovered that parched trees aren’t quiet about their discontent, either. Quite the opposite, in fact.
When the soil underneath runs dry, the specialized “straws” within the trees’ anatomy—known as xylem—make their need known with near-inaudible noises. And with the right acoustic equipment, scientists think groundskeepers and forest rangers will soon have the wherewithal to know when a tree is going thirsty. They’ll just have to listen for that tell-tale sputter. —MN

Thirsty Trees make Thirsty Sounds

The sputter of a straw slurping up the last of your favorite drink is a sound both annoying to your friends and disappointing to you. But, as it turns out,  it’s not something relegated to the human experience.

Scientists from Grenoble University in France have discovered that parched trees aren’t quiet about their discontent, either. Quite the opposite, in fact.

When the soil underneath runs dry, the specialized “straws” within the trees’ anatomy—known as xylem—make their need known with near-inaudible noises. And with the right acoustic equipment, scientists think groundskeepers and forest rangers will soon have the wherewithal to know when a tree is going thirsty. They’ll just have to listen for that tell-tale sputter. —MN

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