07-30-14 Field Note

During hot midsummer weather, aphids in reed canary grass fed Cassin's vireos, unexclosed hawthorns survived a year of exposure to browsing pressure, and wild sarsaparilla berries ripened. 

MPG North Field Note Aphids on Reed Canarygrass, Planted Stock Update, Unexclosed Hawthorn Survival 30 July 2014, MPG Operations, Beau Larkin
Despite a herbicide treatment that reduced grass competition and wood chips that retain moisture and reduce soil temperature, planted aspen in Cooney Meadow show signs of water stress. The field crew will water the planted stock once again in August to help the plants establish.
White pine seedlings wilted in the exposed planting site, but shade cloth attachments to their exclosures seemed to help.
We removed exclosures from six hawthorns last summer. They survived. The shortest one, pictured here, escaped browse height by a few inches but lost most of its foliage.
Taller hawthorns fared better. Despite strong browsing pressure, they retained enough foliage to keep growing. Bark on all unexclosed shrubs remained free of antler rubbing or other damage, and the shrubs’ stems developed enough strength to stay upright through a winter of heavy snow.
Cottonwood suckers also survived a year of exposure to deer. The clump of suckers on the right showed little evidence of browsing and can stand upright despite weak-looking stems. Will these suckers survive another autumn and winter?
Wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) berries blushed purple under the hot July sun. Recent camera work in the Appalachians revealed that wood thrushes dispersed most seeds of American ginseng, a close relative of wild sarsaparilla (Hruska et al. 2014). Do Swainson’s thrushes disperse sarsaparilla seeds in the Swan Valley?
Posted on 8/21/2014 by Beau Larkin

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Field Guide Entries: 

Wild Sarsaparilla