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Plants Remember the Dry Days

When plants talk to each other, what do they say? Some of them compare notes on how to survive a drought and plants that have been subjected to a previous period of drought learn to deal with the stress thanks to their memories of the experience.

This discovery could lead to development of crops better able to withstand drought. This research also confirms what home gardeners and nursery professionals have often learned through hard experience: Transplants do better when water is withheld for a few days to harden them to drought before they're moved.

Researcher Michael Fromm says, "The plants 'remember' dehydration stress. It will condition them to survive future drought stress and transplanting. If I was transplanting something, I would deprive it of water for a couple of days, then water overnight, then transplant."

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