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Veg Crew Adventures - 4

Posted: July 31, 2017

Forecast - blue skies, downed trees, and occasional devil

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Veg Crew:

The northern vegetation crew finally witnessed a week without working in the rain. This was quite exciting and raised morale.  The dry weather was probably the result of me buying a new rain jacket to replace my ancient one that began to wet out. 

We did however encounter a lot of down trees throughout week 6. Several fences had entire trees fallen onto them and total repairs were needed. We were lucky enough to have previous crews leave extra fencing at these sites so an additional trip back to the truck was not needed! 

Some fences are built with t-posts and rebar while others use available trees in the surrounding area. We again were lucky enough to have all smashed fences built with surrounding trees. Although it may be a smart decision [not to mention back breaking], we do not carry in extra t-posts, fencing, post pounders, and rebar to every single site.

Another tree story [vegetation crews have a lot of tree stories] begins at the “plot center” at subplot 5.  As we made our way to the sampling area, we noticed a large downed hemlock and could only find our subplot stake.  The subplot stake is used to measure witness trees and any tree over 5” dbh within a 24ft radius. 

Missing was our microplot stake which is where all herbaceous, seedling, and sapling data is collected. After shooting an east azimuth and measuring out 12ft where the microplot stake should be, it was underneath an entire hemlock tree. Unable to move any part of this tree, we determined the area was 100% dead wood. 

Veg Adven4-downed hemlock1  Veg Adven4-downed hemlock2

Speaking of trees I will stop talking about the fallen and move on to those that are still standing. One of the most common trees encountered at plots and whose seedlings seem to germinate almost anywhere is also the most variable tree. The only thing more variable then this tree could be our plots themselves! Ladies and Gentlemen, the mighty red maple (A. rubrum):

Veg Adven4-maple1 Veg Adven4-maple2  

Veg Adven4-maple3 Veg Adven4-maple4

-Ben
Norther Veg Crew

 

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From the Southern Veg Crew:

Week 6 was nice. No treatment plots. However, we did have to walk 1.7 miles to a plot. That was our longest hike yet, but it wasn’t too bad. The first plot of two at this location was pretty boring.  The second one which was on the edge of a steep hillside held some rather unusual species.Veg adven4-rattlesnake

The first thing that happened here was another rattlesnake encounter! Of course, it was Erik that stepped near it.  He wasn’t as close to it as the last one (if he was he would have stepped on it!). It was around 30-35” long, and not as thick as the one from last week. 

veg Adven4-devil walking stickWe saw some cool plants.  Devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa) is one of, if not the only, tree that grows bipinnately compound leaves in the temperate region of the US!  

This is also why this species has the largest leaves in the continental US according to some online sources. 


We were unable to identify this small tree. 

veg adven4-unknown tree1 veg adven4-unknown tree2

We were thinking it was some species of cherry (Prunus sp.), but we don’t know for sure. If you recognize it, let me know! 

There were some pink corydalis (Corydalis sempervirens) in one of our microplots which is something we don’t see every day!

veg adven4-pink corydalis

And a very cool rock formation that looked like a little hut. It would be a nice place to take shelter during a storm!

veg adven4-shelter

Later in the week, we came across a beautiful luna moth! These guys only live for a few days which is a real shame, but that’s what makes them so special. 

Veg Adven4-luna moth

The last cool find of the week was another red bellied snake, and when compared to the one from last week, they are quite variable!

Veg Adven4-red belly

Hoping for more good finds in week 7!

-Mitchell
Southern Veg Crew

 

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