how does the moon influence plants?

The powers of the moon

Let's take a step back and get rid of the stories and myths, which are fun, but it is better to understand the scientific side of this whole moon and its influence on the earth. Let's start by understanding why the moon is responsible for the tides, for that will help us understand its effect on plants. It turns out that our precious satellite has a gravitational field, which attracts the water that is closest to it. This does not mean that water is "rising" attracted by the moon (otherwise we would have tides in ponds and pools), but rather that the gravitational imbalance caused by the moon pulls the ocean down.

The moon's gravitational field attracts the entire earth, but because the earth is rigid it does not change its shape. Water, on the other hand, can change its shape and therefore rises a little in certain areas. Imagine that the sea is like a tablecloth spread out on a table and the fingers of your hand are the gravity of the moon, which tries to remove it by lifting it a little in the centre. This sort of "hill" created on the tablecloth is similar to the effect of the sea bulging.

Tides occur throughout the ocean, not just on the side of the earth facing the moon, because on the opposite side the water is lifted by inertia, which pulls in the opposite direction. remember the example of the tablecloth? If you pull on one side, it rises on the other. It is this movement of the water that makes beaches look as if the water recedes or returns at certain times of the day.

The moon and plants

The moon has a proven effect on plants, as has been known since ancient times. During a full moon, for example, sap flows more strongly and abundantly in the plant, while it becomes slower and scarcer as the moon enters its waning phase. There are two hypotheses about how the moon influences plants. The first asserts that plants experience these changes because the moon's gravitational field affects the plants' water or sap, in the same way as the tides do. This is a widespread idea, but several studies have disproved this, as the water content of plants, even in the largest trees, is too small.

The second hypothesis is very interesting, as it states that the influence of the moon on plants is due to its light, which would have an electromagnetic effect that alters the surface tension of water in plant tissues. Even though moonlight is a reflection of the sun, it is different, not only because it has only 15% of its intensity, but also because its spectrum tends to be a little more infrared. However, moonlight is able to penetrate the soil and affect the germination, growth, nutrition and behaviour of plants.

Growing by moonlight

While scientists disagree about why the moon affects plants, what is undeniable is that we can learn how plants behave in each moon phase. The goal is to take advantage of these changes in plant cycles to do things like transplanting and pruning safely and efficiently. Your plants will be radiant if you check the lunar calendar for the month and get in sync.

Full moon

In this phase the sap flows abundantly and rapidly from the roots to the top of the plant. This has an impact on the growth of the plant, rooting and root growth is promoted. This is an ideal phase for transplanting, fertilising and harvesting. Weeding should also be done.

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Waning moon

The plant's sap will start to move downwards. The plant will be absorbing more water and nutrients, it becomes stronger even if it does not grow much. In the waning moon there is little moonlight, so it is the ideal time for transplanting, because the roots will grow vigorously. It is also a good time to plant tubers, rhizomes and bulbs. If you have weeds, take advantage of this phase to pull them out.

New Moon

The sap moves downwards, concentrating on the roots. There are no moonbeams, so seed germination is minimal. plant growth is poor and limited, almost dormant. This is the perfect time to prune your plants, as there is no high concentration of sap in the branches, the wounds caused by pruning will recover faster and there is less risk of infection. If you have diseased plants, you can prune them as they will be ready to recover in the waxing phase.

Crescent Moon

The sap moves upwards from the roots to the top, so we see foliage growth. Flowering and ripening of the plants can be stimulated in this phase. There is a good amount of moonlight and water from the soil moves more easily to the roots. For this reason this moon phase is perfect for sowing and germinating seeds. You can take advantage of this phase to prepare the soil, sow, harvest and graft. Avoid fertilising, pruning and weeding.

Tasks for each moon

Plant propagation

- For cuttings the ideal moon is from crescent to full.

- For seedlings and germination, you should wait for crescent or full moon.

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Pruning

- Pruning should be in the waning phase, but if you want your plant to be reborn vigorous and abundant, then prune in the new to waxing moon.

- For abundant foliage, prune at the new moon.

- If your fruit tree is bearing more leaves than flowers and you want to change this, you should prune at full moon to waning.

- To stimulate fruit growth, you should prune at a waxing moon.

- If you are looking to reduce plant growth, prune in the waning moon.

Weeding

Weeding should be done between full and waning moons.

Fertilise

- Shallow-rooted, shallow-rooted plants, fertilise at crescent or full moon.

- Deep-rooted plants, fertilise in the waning to new moon.

Harvesting

If you are going to take leaves for infusions or cooking, fruits or seeds, you should do it between waning and new moon.