The general belief these days is that the smell you get from mowing the lawn is a distress signal from the poor beheaded plants. What hadn’t been determined up to now is the intended recipient of that signal:
The smell of cut grass in recent years has been identified as the plant’s way of signalling distress, but new research says the aroma also summons beneficial insects to the rescue.
“When there is need for protection, the plant signals the environment via the emission of volatile organic compounds, which are recognized as a feeding queue for parasitic wasps to come to the plant that is being eaten and lay eggs in the pest insect,” said Dr. Michael Kolomiets, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist in College Station.
The research stems from a look at the function of a large family of lipid-derived molecular signals that regulate differential processes in humans, animals and plants, according to Kolomiets, whose research was published in The Plant Journal.
So cutting the grass invites wasps?
Suddenly Lisa’s Lawn Be Gone project makes a whole lot more sense.