Their Functions. It seems to me that there are very few gardeners who reahse what the true functions of the roots of plants are, hence it will be well to explain the matter in a. few words. Roots are not given plants merely as a means of holding the leaves and stems upright, but they are there to feed the plants. The roots are really mouths as well as limbs of plants a fact not generally appreciated. A foolish idea has got round that plants feed entirely through their leaves, and that the only function of the roots is to steady the plants m the ground and supply them with water. With some plants experiment has shown that this idea is true, but there are indeed very, very few plants m which this is the case. In most cases the roots act as a mouth, through which food dissolved in water passes, to be made with the carbon dioxide of the air into leaf, stem, and fruit.Much more care ought to be taken than is taken to keep the soil in a suitable condition for the roots of plants to draw food from. If the soil is too wet, as well as acid and sour, the roots decay, and hence they are not able to perform their function of feeding the plants. That is why on such a soil our crops turn sickly and die ; they cannot get enough food from it, and though the food may be present in quantity it is in an unsuitable form. If the roots are to perform this function of drawing large quantities of food from the soil, more than the usual care should be taken in planting to spread them out properly. The usual haphazard method of sticking plants in anyhow with their roots all twisted, is far from good, and should never be followed by anyone who wants his plants really to thrive. Study of the nature of the roots of plants, though it may be so humble a pastime, is well worth doing, and will amply repay in success later on.E.
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