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Hydraulic Lift. UNI Plant Physiology Spring 2010. Observations I. Deep and shallow roots (or deep roots only). Shallow roots. www.sustland.umn.edu. http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B1073-w/B1073-17.gif. Observations II.

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hydraulic lift

Hydraulic Lift

UNI Plant Physiology

Spring 2010

observations i
Observations I

Deep and shallow roots(or deep roots only)

Shallow roots



observations ii
Observations II
  • Small, shallow rooted plants near plants with both deep and shallow roots
  • Surrounding soil bare
  • Especially seen with limited soil moisture


  • Old version: larger plant shaded smaller one, kept it from losing so much water
  • New version
    • Shade still counts
    • Additional source of water: hydraulic lift
    • Big plant “waters” small plant at night
day dawns
Day dawns

Light and temperature increase, stomata open, and transpiration begins.

Water is pulled up the trunk from the roots.

Shallow rooted plants transpire, with water moving from surface soil to roots.

Transpiration stops in the shallow rooted plant.

Water moves into surface roots from surface soil.

As transpiration continues, the surface soil dries out.

Water moves into the roots from the soil.

night falls
Night falls

Transpiration stops when light levels decrease.

Hours later, the surface soil has been rehydrated via the roots.

Water moves from the wet roots to the dry surface soil.

Groundwater moves into deeper roots.

  • Root depths need to be right
  • Groundwater must be present
  • Soil samples change moisture the right way through day and night
  • Transpired water
    • Rainwater and groundwater are different (isotope ratios)
    • We see groundwater transpired by small plant
hydraulic lift1
Hydraulic lift
  • Groundwater to shallow rooted plants
  • When little surface water available
  • Uses plants with deep and shallow roots
  • Not dew making this soil moist at night
  • Another cool water relations story