(originally published December 23, 2014)
Huh?!? Yeah… Don’t believe it? Read on…
While the last two articles covered how naturally-occurring electric fields were discovered to improve plant growth, at this time I’d like to touch briefly on how naturally-occurring sounds may elicit similar enhancements.
To begin, have you ever heard of an album called “Music to Grow Plants”? It’s a record album by Dr. George Milstein in 1972, the same era of time when the book called _“The Secret Life of Plants” was published. It was claimed that the songs on that recording contained special sounds that actually improved growth…Root Simple has a post on it that actually links to the actual album and song samples. Another book from back then that documented these experiments was one by Dorothy Retallack, “The Sound of Music and Plants”.
Strange as it sounded back then, nowadays, more people are working on research that shows it may not be as far fetched as once thought!
Modern Plant Sound Research & Experimentation
First of all, one researcher who has been in the electroculture scene for some time who is also experimenting with the effects of sound waves on plant growth is Yannick Van Doorne. On his website, Music For Your Plants, he shares the history of this topic as well as his own research.
Another researcher of interest is Dr. Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Austrailia. She is an expert in plant communication and along with others in the field have shown that plants communicate with each other in a number of ways ranging from emitting and detecting various gases, to communicating via sound waves. So like Dr. Van Doorne has discovered, she has also found that some plants respond very favorably to sounds too, as demonstrated in the show Earth Unplugged. One such frequency was 200 Hz which was found to be very effective at causing corn to grow towards the sound source – sonotropism perhaps? An interesting next step would be to see which types or frequencies of sounds had positive effects on a wide array of plants, to see if there were any interesting correlations.
It’s really cool that many people have taken an interest in this line of plant acceleration, as they have actually experimented with different forms of sound beyond those of nature sounds, static frequency tests, and to even more complicated forms of music, like “death metal” – which was experimentally determined to be the most effective form of music in a number of tests performed by the cast of MythBusters in Episode 23 (2004). There’s even an experiment that shows positive physiological changes occur when a plant is “tweeted” at – via TalkToAPlant.com (now defunct).
So perhaps when we hear that talking to plants helps them grow better, perhaps there’s more to it than just our sharing of exhaled carbon dioxide…
What are your thoughts on this subject? Let us know what you think in the comments below!