The wind has two faces. It can be a friend or it can be a bitter foe.
- First, the good news: Wind is useful for energy. Wind turbines all across the prairie produce energy that does not pollute the environment.
- Wind also helps us by making sure our plants grow to be strong. Breezes against a growing seedling help it grow more sturdy. When we plant a tree, staking it loosely, not tightly, can allow the plant to develop well. Wind causing movement of the trunk helps strengthen it by thickening it. That's what helps give it the taper from bottom to top. Trunk movement also stimulates root growth. And who doesn't like that in a newly panted tree?
- The wind helps in pollination, as well. And the wind helps to disperse seeds. Good news if that's a plant you love. Bad news if it's a dandelion that's getting dispersed.
- On the negative side, too strong a wind can break branches or, as in the case of straight line winds, even knock it flat to the ground.
- Wind rushing across a landscape can hasten water evaporation. That can either work for, or against you, depending on the current conditions. The drying effect can protect plants that are susceptible to diseases, such as fungal infections.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.