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Does the amount of water change the color of the grass?
Question Date: 2014-02-06
Answer 1:

Good question. The short answer is yes. The long answer is a little complicated. Plant color comes from pigments, which the plant makes to collect light for photosynthesis.

In case you haven’t studied photosynthesis yet, that’s the way plants take matter—carbon dioxide and water—then use energy from light to make sugar. Oxygen is a waste product.

The color of plants can give important clues about their health. A healthy plant can make plenty of pigments, like chlorophyll. Pigments are “expensive” for the plant to make, though. It takes energy and raw materials. So plants that are not doing well may make fewer pigments or stop making the most expensive pigments. When the roots are damaged so that they can’t absorb nutrients from the soil, or the soil is low in nutrients or has the wrong pH, plants stop making pigments. Plants that don’t get enough water make less chlorophyll too. People who manage food crops or forests use special techniques for measuring the color of plants in order to tell how healthy they are. A plant can be in bad shape by the time it would look different to a person not using special tools.

If you are interested in doing a project on this, you might want to contact your local county extension service. These are offices that help connect university researchers with local people who need help with plant and animal issues. If they have someone using pigment colors to study the health of grass or other plants, they may be able to help.

If you are interested in the health of plants, you may want to study botany, agricultural science, or plant ecology.

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

I doubt that it would directly. It might indirectly though: there are many different species of grass, and some species grow more effectively in wetter environments than others, and different species of grass do have different colors. Also, grass flowers are different color than the photosynthetic parts (for example, bluegrass is called that because of the bluish-purple color of the reproductive parts). More water means more resources that a grass can devote to reproducing.

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