Pub Quiz Answer: water travelling against gravity. Ever seen rainfall go upwards ? If you’ve ever siphoned liquid [note: liquid plus tubes] from one place to another, you’re half way there.
Horticulturally serious: I’ll need this post to refer back to in a while and on a slight side note, maybe more than I realise, it is one of the most beneficial understandings in what might be considered one of the basic principles of horticulture. Many varying definitions out there to be found, this very shortened definition [as versus my own] should suffice.
Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, and in opposition to external forces like gravity.
In relation to gardening, this becomes again important when we consider:
In hydrology, capillary action describes the attraction of water molecules to soil particles.
I never entirely understood [I do] why capillary action as a definition got to be [of sorts] borrowed, because when broken down really by meaning, it cannot refer to water movement in anything other than a xylem [a plants water carrying internal pipes] or a tube of some format. A discussion for another day over a glass of Midleton I hear you say.
If you are actually interested in joining me for that chat, you’ll most probably find this photograph below extremely humorous. Oh the giggles we shall have 😉
Disclaimer: there’ll be no drinks. It’s just definitions can get quite cucumbersome and often need some mild humour to brighten them up.
Also, now every time I mention capillary action I can link to my own meaning/ explanation – as versus someone elses 😉
Note: I may update this post further. For now and because I write this when it suits/ I have the time/ I’m not in your garden ~ the basic understanding/ theory is there.