2019 Update: Experimental plot management

This summer Jay Fordham conducted an experiment in experimental plot 8 to determine an effective method for eradicating Fraxinus pennsylvanica, or green ash. Team Echinacea is concerned with the spread of green ash in our experimental plots because it crowds out native herbs. The Echinacea in exPt8 may be at particular risk due to their young age relative to individuals in other plots. A prior attempt to manage ash in exPt8 with triclopyr (brand name Garlon) largely failed, resulting in only 3% mortality.

Jay devised three treatments of  triclopyr application to green ash. The three treatments were 1) A foliar application where he painted all leaves with triclopyr; 2) A bark application where he cut each ash 10cm from the base and applied triclopyr to the remaining above-ground stem; and 3) A cambium application where he cut each ash 10cm from the base, scraped off the exterior bark with a knife, and applied triclopyr to the remaining above-ground stem. He divided exPt8 into 35 treatment sections and randomly assigned a treatment to each section. He then randomized the treatment application order and, with the help of the team, treated 438 green ash trees from July 22nd to August 8th. Jay then assessed ash mortality on August 27th and 28th and found the cambium application to be most effective. Jay presented his findings at the 2019 Midstates Undergraduate Research Symposium in St. Louis on November 1-2. His presentation is available to view and download here.

Triclopyr treatment Mean Proportion Dead Stems
Foliar application 0.005
Cutting and bark application 0.333
Cutting and cambium application 0.498

In addition to the green ash management experiment in exPt8, the team removed Bird’s-foot trefoil from exPt1 and along the bordering road. The team also removed sweet clover from within and around exPt1, exPt2 and exPt3. The team cut back sumac from the easternmost rows of exPt1.

Jay brandishing sweet clover plants that the team pulled in exPt1

In June the team planted Asclepias viridiflora in exPt1 at regular intervals. Stuart initially assessed approximately 124 surviving plugs prior to planting. Erin and Riley, while pulling flags marking the planting locations in September, did not observe any surviving milkweed plants. The team also planted Carex gravida and Carex brevior in the path around exPt1. The team planted three of the same carex species at each location in a triangular configuration. Erin shot the planting positions with the GPS pole in the center of the three plants, or between two where two survived, or north of a single plant where one survived. In October she observed that approximately 2/3rds of the carex plantings were present.

Location: exPts 1, 2 and 8

Data/materials collected: Weeds were discarded outside the plot as they were removed.

Find information about Jay’s experiment at ~Dropbox\teamEchinacea2019\jayFordham

Find information about the planting locations of the Asclepias viridiflora at ~Dropbox\CGData\Asclepias\plantPlugs2019.csv

Find the two GPS jobs containing the carex locations in ~Dropbox\geospatialDataBackup2019, saved in three formats in temporaryDarwBackups2019, convertedXML2019 and convertedASVandCSV2019. The job names are CAREX_P1_20190801_DARW and CAREX_P1_20191003_DARW.

What East Riley Taught Us About Perserverance

Today, Team Echinacea spent time in the remnant site East Riley finishing up the seedling search that had been conducted there on Tuesday and then doing demography for the site. All but two heads that we found at East Riley had been mowed over- some possibly more. This site is notorious for that problem, but this year it was mowed over more comprehensively than it has before. Yet, the echinacea come back year after year and they still try to flower. They invest resources into a reproductive gamble, put everything out there, and hope for the best outcome. If echinacea can take a chance on themselves year after year, maybe we all could.

Tuesday in Railroad Crossing and P1

Hey flog!

It was cool and overcast today in Kensington which made for wonderful weather to work in. The team spent the morning in the remnants doing demography at Railroad Crossing. Darwin’s reciever was malfunctioning, so Chekov got a chance to shine. In the afternoon, the team spent some time measuring in P1. It’s a lot of searching for staples, but one does find many cool bugs rifling through the grass.

Demography in the Corn

This morning the team split into two groups: one doing the normal morning routine of phenology and the pulse/steady experiments in P2, and the other doing demography in remnant site On 27. There were a little over 100 plants to visit, several of which were in the neighboring corn field! Then at lunch, the team got personal project updates from Erin and Julie. In the afternoon John and I worked in P8 on my personal project which involves the management of green ash within experimental plots. After Wednesday of this week I will likely be finished with treating ash!

There was an echinacea plant growing through the hole of a tag that I found today during demography!

Making Due with a Skeleton Crew

This is our stand in team member George H.W. Bush who helped us with phenology today.

Team Echinacea was feeling a little small today with 7 people, but we took advantage of the beautiful weather and got a lot done! In the morning we took phenolgy data and worked on a pollination experiment. In the afternoon, Julie and I worked on our personal projects and the rest of the team went out to take demography data in the remnant plots.

The Perfect Summer Day

Hey flog!

After a long few days of dreary weather, today was bright, sunny, and breezy. It was beautiful. Everyone got outside and worked on personal projects in the morning and we worked hard in P8 in the afternoon. and The team also got a visit from a local beekeeper today! We ended the day with a delcious watermelon and a trip to the beach- and an amazing sunset this evening.

Miyauna and Jennifer found a handsome green eyed bee in the field this morning
The team was visited by a local beekeeper who even let everyone partake in the honey straight from the comb.

A Rainy Day of Stipa and Phenology

Hey flog,

After a wonderful 4th of July celebration the team was back at it for a day of work before the weekend. We started out the day finishing stipa rechecks which went smoothly. We had hoped the rain would remain south of us so that we could get all the flowering plants documented in our visors before the day’s end, but it became apparent as we were collecting phenology data that it wouldn’t. But it was really nice to get to see the first flowering heads looking so good!

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Saturday at Town Hall

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It was a fun and relaxing day at town hall this Saturday. It was full of finding fun plants and fungi out at Kensington Runestone Park, working on a prairie ecosystem themed puzzle, and staying as close to our box fans as possible. And to top it all off we had a wonderful view of the sunset! Happy Saturday from the Town Hall Squad : )

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Jay Fordham

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology Major, Gustavus Adolphus College ’20

Research Interests

The the recent 2018 Nobel conference at Gustavus has gotten me interested in soil ecology. I want to know what goes on in post-agricultural and fractured prairie ecosystems and what the implications are for species richness and productivity underground.

Personal Interests

I am a Biology major minoring in Statistics and English from Waseca, MN. In my free time I like foraging for mushrooms, gardening, and anything that gets me outside. I also like making mixed media art, video games, and trying to learn Swedish.