The ability to respond to unanticipated increases in volume is a fundamental property of cells, essential for cellular integrity in the face of osmotic challenges. Plants must manage cell swelling during flooding, rehydration, and pathogenesis–but little is known about the mechanisms by which this occurs. It has been proposed that plant cells could sense and respond to cell swelling through the action of mechanosensitive ion channels. Here we develop and characterize a new assay to study the effects of cell swelling on Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings and to test the contributions of the mechanosensitive ion channel MscS-Like10 (MSL10). The assay incorporates both cell wall softening and hypo-osmotic treatment to induce cell swelling. We show that MSL10 is required for previously demonstrated responses to hypo-osmotic shock, including a cytoplasmic calcium transient within the first few seconds, accumulation of ROS within the first 30 minutes, and increased transcript levels of mechano-inducible genes within 60 minutes. We also show that cell swelling induces programmed cell death within 3 hours, also in a MSL10-dependent manner. Finally, we show that MSL10 is unable to potentiate cell swelling-induced death when phosphomimetic residues are introduced into its soluble N-terminus. Thus, MSL10 functions as a phospho-regulated membrane-based sensor that connects the perception of cell swelling to a downstream signaling cascade and programmed cell death.