Do plants react to sound? Man in Biggleswade potting shed on mission to find out!

Peter at the potting shed.
Peter at the potting shed.

A determined student is conducting experiments in a potting shed near Biggleswade to see if plants really do react to sound.

Sir David Attenborough has introduced us to the idea that plants have senses which can respond to their environment, so the 22-year-old from Shuttleworth College is looking for answers.

Peter and his plants - are they really listening?

Peter and his plants - are they really listening?

Peter Lickorish has won a Milton Keynes Parks Trust bursary of £500 to conduct experiments at the campus near Biggleswade, and is placing propagation stage Euphorbia plants in sound boxes to see whether they grow best in silence, with the sound of trickles of water or mixed noises such as students talking around them.

Peter, who is completing the study as his dissertation for his Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Masters, said: “There is a practical application for this especially with the modern designs of plant walls in and outside of offices.

"Setting aside atmospheric influences, do plants respond to the sound of a busy office or traffic noise, or does that stunt their growth compared to gentle sounds like running water?”

Peter works part-time at Shuttleworth College supporting those on the RHS courses which range from Level 1 Diploma up to degree-level and has his own business - Peter Lickorish’s Plant Paradise based in his home of Shenley Church End, Milton Keynes.

Explaining about the support for his project, Peter added: “The bursary is called the Fred Roche Foundation Study Award and is named after the man who was the General Manager Milton Keynes Development Corporation and thus green space developer of the new city. Only now can his vision for the greenness of Milton Keynes be really appreciated.

"Like others from Milton Keynes who are interested in plants and gardens, I came to study at Shuttleworth College as it is has a long-standing reputation in the field of horticulture and agriculture.”

For more information about horticulture courses and research programmes at Shuttleworth College visit www.shuttleworth.ac.uk