How Lightning Adds Meals to Plants

  Have you ever noticed that after a thunderstorm, plants grow faster and look fresher, brighter, and more verdant! What is the reason?
  Some people think that the plants have received more abundant rain, some people think that the temperature after the rain has become more suitable for growth, and some people say that this is due to the increase in air humidity.
  While all of these factors contribute to rapid plant growth, there is a lesser-known reason for this, and that is the action of lightning.
Lightning ‘fertilizes’ plants

  We know that plants “produce their own food” through photosynthesis. But in fact, this production process will be directly or indirectly affected by some nutrients. For plants, the three most important nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in order of importance. And lightning helps plants grow by increasing the supply of nitrogen (the chemical symbol is N).
  There is a lot of nitrogen in the atmosphere – 78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen (only 21% is oxygen). However, for most plants, the nitrogen in the air (composed of two nitrogen atoms, usually represented by N2) cannot be directly absorbed and utilized.
  Plants mainly absorb and use nitrogen in the form of nitrate (containing nitrate ion NO3-), and this process occurs in the soil.
  The nitrate in the soil mainly comes from the action of microorganisms, and its content in the soil is related to the number of microorganisms. If there are many microorganisms in the soil, then its content will naturally be relatively rich; if the soil is not suitable for more microorganisms to live, then its content will inevitably be relatively small.
  Lightning increases the amount of nitrate in the soil — it converts atmospheric nitrogen into nitrate ions and adds it to the soil, which in turn increases the amount of nitrate, like adding fertilizer to the soil.
  So, how does this process happen?
Lightning makes plants ‘open to eat’

  Lightning has enormous energy. Whenever a lightning strike occurs, some of the energy hits the nitrogen in the atmosphere, breaking the strong bonds of the nitrogen molecule and splitting the two nitrogen atoms. Nitrogen atoms, once split, quickly combine with atmospheric oxygen to form nitrogen oxides.
  Rain usually occurs with lightning, and these nitrogenous oxides dissolve in them, producing nitrates and nitrites, which fall to the ground in the form of raindrops, and then seep into the soil in a form that plants can absorb.
  This conversion process is called “nitrogen fixation”. The more lightning, the more nitrate ions, which means more nitrate in the soil. There is more “fertilizer” in the soil, which is equivalent to more food eaten by plants. In this way, the plant can be “open to eat”. Therefore, they will also look fuller after a thunderstorm.
Thunderbolt helps plants in ‘many ways’

  In addition to “fertilizing” plants, lightning also has other benefits for plant growth.
  It helps some plants “kill” their competitors. We know that lightning can start fires. Fire, often a normal part of nature, clears dry undergrowth and “makes the way” for new growth. Some trees, like redwoods, are known to be resistant to fire, and their thick bark protects them from blazes. They rely on fire to eliminate their competitors so they can continue to grow and gain an advantage.
  It can also boost plant metabolism. Plants are able to detect the “high voltage” that creates lightning when a storm is approaching, the study suggests. This high pressure boosts the plant’s metabolism, causing it to shift into a higher “gear” earlier, ready for the shower. The lightning is like a signal, telling them to prepare the roots to absorb the next downpour, and prepare the rest of the parts to grow rapidly.
  In addition, lightning can also trigger seeds to germinate. Botanists have discovered that electrical currents from lightning can trigger seeds to germinate in plants such as cherries and barley. This also explains why seeds germinate faster after a thunderstorm.

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