Electromagnetic Fields Impact Tree and Plant Growth


Electromagnetic Fields, Tree & Plant Growth

Electromagnetic (EMF) frequencies have been found to alter the growth and development of plants.  Studies on wireless EMF frequencies have found physiological and morphological changes, increased micronuclei formation, altered growth as well as adverse cell characteristics such as thinner cell walls and smaller mitochondria. Electromagnetic  exposure results in biochemical changes Research shows that plants perceive and respond to electromagnetic fields and are a good model to study the biological effects of exposure.

Documentation of tree damage from base stations is made visible in the Report “Tree Damage Caused by Mobile phone base stations” in which he states, “RF radiation effects on plants have not been considered. In the Explosive Proliferation of the diverse wireless communication technologies across the entire environment and almost all areas of life, this represents an uncovered risk” (Breunig, 2017).  

Note: EMFs also have been shown to alter the behavior of bees and birds.

Research Studies:

Breunig, Helmut. “Tree Damage Caused By Mobile Phone Base Stations An Observation Guide.” (2017).

You can also download the Observation Guide at: Competence Initiative for the Protection of Humanity, the Environment and Democracy


Halgamuge, M.N. “Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 36.2 (2017): 213-235.

  • “Our analysis demonstrates that the data from a substantial amount of the studies on RF-EMFs from mobile phones show physiological and/or morphological effects (89.9%, p < 0.001). Additionally, our analysis of the results from these reported studies demonstrates that the maize, roselle, pea, fenugreek, duckweeds, tomato, onions and mungbean plants seem to be very sensitive to RF-EMFs. Our findings also suggest that plants seem to be more responsive to certain frequencies…”


Shikha Chandel, et al. “Exposure to 2100 MHz electromagnetic field radiations induces reactive oxygen species generation in Allium cepa roots.” Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure 5.4 (2017): 225-229.

  • “The present study investigated the role of cell phone EMF-r in inciting oxidative damage in onion (Allium cepa) roots at a frequency of 2100 MHz. Onion roots were exposed to continuous wave homogenous EMF-r for 1, 2 and 4 h for single day. The results showed that EMF-r exposure enhanced the content of MDA, H2O2 and O2−. Also, there was an upregulation in the activity of antioxidant enzymes− SOD and CAT− in onion roots. The study concluded that 2100 MHz cell phone EMF-r incite oxidative damage in onion roots by altering the oxidative metabolism.”


Gustavino, B., et al. “Exposure to 915 MHz radiation induces micronuclei in Vicia faba root tips.” Mutagenesis 31.2 (2016): 187-92.

  • The increasing use of mobile phones and wireless networks raised a great debate about the real carcinogenic potential of radiofrequency-electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure associated with these devices. Conflicting results are reported by the great majority of in vivo and in vitro studies on the capability of RF-EMF exposure to induce DNA damage and mutations in mammalian systems. Aimed at understanding whether less ambiguous responses to RF-EMF exposure might be evidenced in plant systems with respect to mammalian ones, in the present work the mutagenic effect of RF-EMF has been studied through the micronucleus (MN) test in secondary roots of Vicia faba seedlings exposed to mobile phone transmission in controlled conditions, inside a transverse electro magnetic (TEM) cell.
  • Results of three independent experiments show the induction of a significant increase of MN frequency after exposure, ranging from a 2.3-fold increase above the sham value, at the lowest SAR level, up to a 7-fold increase at the highest SAR. These findings are in agreement with the limited number of data on cytogenetic effects detected in other plant systems exposed to mobile phone RF-EMF frequencies and clearly show the capability of radiofrequency exposure to induce DNA damage in this eukaryotic cell system.
  • It is worth noticing that this range of SAR values is well below the international limits for localised exposure (head, trunk), according to the ICNIRP guidelines (35) and IEEE std C95.1 (38), which are 10 (8.0) W/kg for occupational exposure and 2.0 (1.6) W/kg for general public exposure respectively.


Waldmann-Selsam, C., et al. “Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations.” Science of the Total Environment 572 (2016): 554-69.

  • “In the last two decades, the deployment of phone masts around the world has taken place and, for many years, there has been a discussion in the scientific community about the possible environmental impact from mobile phone base stations. Trees have several advantages over animals as experimental subjects and the aim of this study was to verify whether there is a connection between unusual (generally unilateral) tree damage and radiofrequency exposure.
  • To achieve this, a detailed long-term (2006-2015) field monitoring study was performed in the cities of Bamberg and Hallstadt (Germany).
  • The measurements of all trees revealed significant differences between the damaged side facing a phone mast and the opposite side, as well as differences between the exposed side of damaged trees and all other groups of trees in both sides. Thus, we found that side differences in measured values of power flux density corresponded to side differences in damage. The 30 selected trees in low radiation areas (no visual contact to any phone mast and power flux density under 50μW/m(2)) showed no damage. Statistical analysis demonstrated that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts is harmful for trees. These results are consistent with the fact that damage afflicted on trees by mobile phone towers usually start on one side, extending to the whole tree over time.”


Martin Pall. “Electromagnetic Fields Act Similarly in Plants as in Animals: Probable Activation of Calcium Channels via Their Voltage Sensor” Current Chemical Biology, Volume 10 , Issue 1 , 2016

  • It has been shown that low intensity microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act in animals via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the plasma membrane, producing excessive intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i, with excessive [Ca2+]i leading to both pathophysiological and also in some cases therapeutic effects. The pathophysiological effects are produced largely through excessive [Ca2+]i signaling including excessive nitric oxide (NO), superoxide, peroxynitrite, free radical formation and consequent oxidative stress. The activation of the VGCCs is thought to be produced via EMF impact on the VGCC voltage sensor, with the physical properties of that voltage sensor predicting that it is extraordinarily sensitive to these EMFs.
  • It is shown here that the action of EMFs in terrestrial, multicellular (embryophyte) plants is probably similar to the action in animals in most but not all respects, with calcium channel activation in the plasma membrane leading to excessive [Ca2+]i, leading in turn to most if not all of the biological effects. A number of studies in plants are briefly reviewed which are consistent with and supportive of such a mechanism. Plant channels most plausibly to be involved, are the so-called two pore channels (TPCs), which have a voltage sensor similar to those found in the animal VGCCs.

Halgamuge, Malka N., See Kye Yak and Jacob L. Eberhardt. “Reduced growth of soybean seedlings after exposure to weak microwave radiation from GSM 900 mobile phone and base station.” Bioelectromagnetics 36.2 (2015): 87-95.

  • The aim of this work was to study possible effects of environmental radiation pollution on plants. The association between cellular telephone (short duration, higher amplitude) and base station (long duration, very low amplitude) radiation exposure and the growth rate of soybean (Glycine max) seedlings was investigated.
  • The exposure to higher amplitude (41 V m−1) GSM radiation resulted in diminished outgrowth of the epicotyl. The exposure to lower amplitude (5.7 V m−1) GSM radiation did not influence outgrowth of epicotyl, hypocotyls, or roots. The exposure to higher amplitude CW radiation resulted in reduced outgrowth of the roots whereas lower CW exposure resulted in a reduced outgrowth of the hypocotyl. Soybean seedlings were also exposed for 5 days to an extremely low level of radiation (GSM 900 MHz, 0.56 V m−1) and outgrowth was studied 2 days later. Growth of epicotyl and hypocotyl was found to be reduced, whereas the outgrowth of roots was stimulated.
  • Our findings indicate that the observed effects were significantly dependent on field strength as well as amplitude modulation of the applied field.


Senavirathna, M.D., et al. “Nanometer-scale elongation rate fluctuations in the Myriophyllum aquaticum (Parrot feather) stem were altered by radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation.” Plant Signal Behav 9.3 (2014).

  • Statistically significant changes to this plant from a non thermal effect.


Soran, M.L., et al. “Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants.” Journal of Plant Physiology 171.15 (2014): 1436-43.

  • Microwave irradiation resulted in thinner cell walls, smaller chloroplasts and mitochondria, and enhanced emissions of volatile compounds, in particular, monoterpenes and green leaf volatiles (GLV). These data collectively demonstrate that human-generated microwave pollution can potentially constitute a stress to the plants.
  • The above is only a small sampling of the research showing biological effects at non thermal levels on living organisms.


Waldmann-Selsam, Cornelia, and Horst Eger. “Tree damages in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations.”  Baumschäden im Umkreis von Mobilfunksendeanlagen, umwelt-medizin-gesellschaft, 26 (2013): 198-208.

  • “Since 2005, on the occasion of medical examinations of sick residents living near mobile phone base stations, changes in nearby trees (crown, leaves, trunk, branches, growth) were observed at the same time as clinical symptoms in humans occurred. Both deciduous and coniferous trees as well as shrub species were affected. The assessment of tree diseases is neither impeded by psychological impacts nor by change of location. Impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from radar, radio and TV on plant life have been scientifically demonstrated over the past 80 years. Since 2005, the influence of modulated RF-EMF – that are used in mobile phone telephony – has been investigated in lab experiments. Several research groups reported about the impacts on germination, growth and cell metabolism. Only a few scientific papers have been published to date on research concerning the health conditions of trees in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations. These papers are indicating harmful impacts. For this reason, between 2007 and 2013, the status of trees standing in the neighbourhood of 620 mobile phone base stations was documented. In the radio shadow of buildings or that one of other trees, the trees stayed healthy. However, within the radiation field, damages were observed on exposed trees. Additionally, unilateral crown damage, beginning on the side facing the antenna, strongly indicates a causal relationship with RF-EMF. In the following, examples of crown damages and of premature colouring of leaves are presented. The authors believe, that scientific research is urgently needed to examine these observations.”


Haggerty, Katie. “Adverse Influence of Radio Frequency Background on Trembling Aspen Seedlings.” International Journal of Forestry Research 2010.836278 (2010).

  • “This study suggests that the RF background may have strong adverse effects on growth rate and fall anthocyanin production in aspen, and may be an underlying factor in aspen decline.”


Kouzmanova, M., et al. “Alterations in enzyme activities in leaves after exposure of Plectranthus sp. plants to 900 MHz electromagnetic field.” Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment 23.sup1 (2009): 611-615.

  • “The purpose of our study was to investigate the alterations in enzyme activities in leaves after exposure of plants Plectranthus sp. to 900 MHz EMF and their dependence on the time elapsed after exposure.
  • Alterations in activity of isocitrate dehydrogenase, malate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in leaves were registered immediately after the end of the exposure and 1, 2 and 24 hours later. Irradiation of plants induced different alterations in enzyme activities depending on the time elapsed after irradiation. Immediately after exposure the activity of the three investigated enzymes decreased, but increased at 24th hour.
  • In conclusion, the data provide evidence that plants perceive and respond to electromagnetic fields and are a good model to study the effects of mobile phone radiation.”


Trebbi, Grazia, et al. “Extremely low frequency weak magnetic fields enhance resistance of NN tobacco plants to tobacco mosaic virus and elicit stress‐related biochemical activities.” Bioelectromagnetics 28.3 (2007): 214-223.

  • “Increasing evidence has accumulated concerning the biological effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) in different plant models.
  • Following ELF-MFs exposure, an increased resistance was detected, particularly after an 8-h treatment, as shown by the decrease in lesion area and number. Moreover, two enzyme activities involved in resistance mechanisms were analyzed: ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL). Uninoculated leaves previously exposed to ELF-MFs in general showed a significant increase relative to controls in ODC and PAL activities, in particular for 13 microT static MF plus 28.9 microT, 10 Hz sinusoidal MF (24 h) treatment.
  • In conclusion, ELF-MFs seem to influence the HR of tobacco to TMV, as shown by the increased resistance and changes in ODC and PAL activities, indicating the reliability of the present plant model in the study of bioelectromagnetic interactions.” 

Watch this conference on EMF tree impacts.

Unknown treedamage by electromagnetic radiation from Boomaantastingen on Vimeo.


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