When I was monitoring the monarchs on Monday, I noticed some of the plants at Putah Creek were looking a little dry. The majority of the water stressed plants seemed to be located at the tail end of the irrigation line, so I suspected a leak. I ran the irrigation for a short period of time, but found no leak.
When I returned Wednesday it seemed the drying problem was getting worse. About 15-20% of plants seemed to be drying out. Of those, 80% were A. fascicularis, and of those 80% had some sort of brown fungus on their lower leaves. At this point 5 or so plants had dried out and lost their leaves completely. I ran the irrigation to give all the plants a good soaking, and once again checked for leaks.
The monarchs being raised in the lab have become fairly large. All but one of them needed to be moved into different container types this week. The voracious caterpillars also needed to have their diet replaced ahead of schedule. The largest 6 of the caterpillars had almost entirely eaten through their diet.
Tuesday this week was the perfect day for transplanting. It was full overcast for a majority of the day. I took more than full advantage of this out at North Davis Creek in a Herculean 12 hour day. Knowing I couldn’t pass up a day like this (especially this close to Summer), I replaced 110 plants from plot 124 to 399, and installed plant protectors on all. The whole process moved a bit faster than last week because I put off placing the number tags and MMMILC project stickers. When you’re repeating a process dozens of times, even shaving of 30 seconds adds up in the long run. I also finished the last bit of data collection at North Davis Creek and ensured the plants were watered thoroughly while I was at this site.
I finally finished the battle against the weeds at LTRAS. 2 LTRAS employees and myself took a little over 4 hours to finish clearing out the weeds that remained around the plots. This victory was not without casualties however…
This was a bad week for tools. The hula ho broke at LTRAS. A trowel and another set of calipers broke at North Davis Creek. I was very surprised about all these losses, save for the trowel (it was a crumbly trowel).
The week closed out with a trip out to Bobcat Ranch to check on some milkweeds, the delivery of large tomato cages, and the facilitation of a large delivery of mulch from UC Davis Grounds and Landscape Service. All of these are in preparation for future experiments and projects that we will surely cover soon.