For most people the trees losing their leaves for the year invokes a bit of sadness for the lost summer, however, I am breathing a sigh of relief. The end of the growing season and loss of leaves means a respite from fieldwork and a chance to reflect on how my experiment is shaping up (and how much more there is to be done).
Last fall the lab helped me with an epic construction project to erect 28 raised beds at my field site and fill them with 20 tons of sand and 20 tons of field soil –accomplished by wheelbarrow (I know I owe them all my first born… but probably they would prefer cookies for life).
Now the plants have gotten quite large and flowered (only 3 out of 288 didn’t survive!) and I have reams of data to sort through and piles of leaves to grind up for nutrient analysis. I’ll be sorting through the data over the next few months, excited to see what happened and plan for the next few years of the experiment!