Tagging Plants to Study

One of the main purposes of the ozone garden is to track ozone damage on the plants. To do this, we monitor damage on individual leaves over the course of months. Each season, once our perennials have grown leaves again and our annuals have sprouted, we tie jewelry tags to leaves we want to study.

Materials Used for Tagging

The number of each leaf is written on the jewelry tag with a permanent marker. A metal tag is tied near the base of each plant we are studying. We wrote the plant IDs on the metal tags by pressing on them with a pencil, leaving indented letters. The paper jewelry tags eventually decompose, and the metal tags are removed in the fall and can be used again in the following season.

Labeling Leaves

We do not study every leaf on every plant; that amount of data collection would take forever! For coneflowers, we studied five leaves on eight plants each. The tag on each leaf says CF for coneflower, followed by the number of the plant, a dash, and a number for the leaf. For example, a coneflower leaf may be labeled CF8-4.

Milkweed grow in pairs of two leaves coming out of the stalk opposite from each other. Each pair of leaves gets its own number, and are labeled A or B to indicate a pair of leaves growing on opposite sides. For example, a milkweed leaf could be labeled 2A or 3B.

There are two types of snap bean plants. One strain is normally ozone sensitive while the other  was bred selectively to be ozone tolerant. The leaves are labeled TB for tolerant bean or SB for sensitive bean. A number is written next to the letters for each plant, followed by the leaf number. A snap bean leaf can be labeled SB1-1.


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