The coneflowers are growing tall quickly, as you can see in the photo of one of our volunteers standing in the middle of them. Next week, we are going to start tagging the leaves, and then start collecting data on ozone damage in early June. Before doing that, we needed to cut down some of the coneflower stems.
The stems had become overcrowded, making it difficult to observe individual leaves. The overcrowded leaves also block light from reaching lower leaves, causing them to die. If the coneflowers were just there to fill space and look nice, we could probably have not cut as many away, but we do not want our tag leaves to die from lack of sunlight or be hard to find in the tangle of stems.
To remove stems, we took scissors and cut at an angle near the base. We then piled the severed stems in a trash can and put them in the dumpster. This will not kill the plants, as they will rebound easily.
In other news, the soil moisture sensor we installed last week needed a new battery. All the rain and cloudy days had not provided the solar panel on the sensor enough light to recharge.