Transpiration -or- “Milking A Tree For Water”

I’ve enjoyed meeting new friends that I’ve met through the Contact page on this website. One of these friends whose name is Darrell related the following experience that he calls “milking a tree for water”. I wanted to share it with you. He writes the following: “…I was mowing the grass when a plastic bag blew across the yard, (it was a windy day). I grabbed it and looked at it, it was about the size of a garbage bag and clear in color. It looked like a new bag. I took it and pulled it over a branch of my lilac bushes to keep it from blowing away and continued mowing. A few hours later I looked at the bushes and saw it there, I had forgotten about it. I went to retrieve it and put it in the garbage can and noticed it was looking “all steamed up” and it had a cup of water in the bottom. Then I realized the bush was breathing water vapor and it condensed in the bag and the water ran to the low spot of the bag… (I) thought you may want to test and publish your results of this method of gathering or harvesting water from trees or bushes. I think people should be aware of this method of collecting water in emergency situations.”

As he suggested, I tried it for myself and made these observations:
– larger bags provide more surface area for moisture collection
– it’s a daytime process
– the amount of water produced is limited so consider setting up several bags
– avoid poking holes in the bag, especially on the bottom

Darrell discovered transpiration by accident, but I was pleased that he took time to share this phenomenon. This simple method can be an easily implemented and is another alternative in the quest for emergency drinking water.

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3 thoughts on “Transpiration -or- “Milking A Tree For Water”

  1. Hi Ken-Great way to get water! Being a Horticulturist, I have learned that a plant’s transpiration rate increases as the temperature rises during the day, but only to a certain point, and then the stomata closes when it gets too hot in order for the plant to conserve its moisture reserves (the process of transpiration is a vital process that allows the wicking process to pull water up from the roots upward in the plant against gravity). So, for the best results, I would assume that it would be best to “milk” a plant in a moderate-temperature, but sunny location. Also, are there safe plastics that could be utilized that would not leach toxins into the droplets of collected water? What are your thoughts?

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