7/8/22: on the trees' schedule
We’ve been patiently waiting on the rain to pass and the roots to root. The sugar maples and star magnolias for our waterlogging project were still not quite ready this week. You can’t rush mother nature, so we wished the trees the best and went on our way. That brings up the unexplored mystery of root phenology. Phenology is the study of life cycles and how they relate to seasonal influences such as climate. When does a flower bloom? When does a tree lose its leaves? When does a bird fly south? These are all questions concerning phenology. Just like all other parts of the tree (leaves, flowers, trunk, and branches), roots display phenological patterns. At certain times during the year, they experience intense growing periods. This is the perfect opportunity to give you a deeper look at the research we do with the minirhizotron scanners. Continue reading to find out how we use these images to tell a story about root life cycles and growth patterns (and some other fun updates from this week)!
Here you can see our minirhizotron scanner being placed in one of our forestry plot tubes. The scanner is connected to a tablet that allows us to view and save the images being taken belowground. The reddish objects in the third image are roots in our arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) plot, and the white webbing in the last image is mycelial growth in our white pine (Pinus strobus) plot.