Thursday, August 4, 2011

PostHeaderIcon More prairie markers

This is a good photo of a location that should be good for Opuntia fragilis. The broad leaf plants and grasses are hardly making it here. They probably start out in the spring when there is plenty of rain then as summer gets hot, even with rain, the sand drains too fast for them to grow well. This is marked to help find the location next spring when the fragilis will be planted. It is hard to imagine not being able to find this location, but most of the ground looks barren in the early spring. The marker may be very helpful.
Sunday, July 31, 2011

PostHeaderIcon captan & superthrive application

The Opuntia fragilis plants were given an application of Captan and Superthrive as root fungus prevention. The weather has been hot and wet which has been more intense than most summers here in Wisconsin. Some Opuntia plants I've had for years outdoors in Wisconsin have died from root rot this year. The plants for the DNR 690 have not shown any signs of having any problems, but as a precaution they are now treated.
Thursday, July 28, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Markers for Planting

The Opuntia fragilis will be planted next spring in several prairie locations. The best time to plant them is in the early spring, so they will have their new growth to establish themselves in the new location. The best information as to where exactly to plant them is in the middle of summer. The mid summer weather will show where broad leaf plants are unable to maintain their hold, and these ares are going to be the best places to plant fragilis. The mid summer heat will cause plants to dry up and die back where the soil is too sandy.

Now is the best time to mark these broad leaf dead zones, and then plant the fragilis next spring. These areas would not be as easy to find in the early spring without markers, because plants look like they are growing everywhere as they are coming up.

It will be a good situation for the prairie. The fragilis will be able to grow in areas where broad leaf plants can't make it through the summer heat. The cacti will stay in these locations because they will not be able to spread into the lush areas and compete where the broad leaf plants thrive.

Opuntia fragilis will have the best sandy locations with plenty of sun by making the prairie now.
Monday, June 27, 2011

PostHeaderIcon New Growth on rock rooted pads

These pads were rooted in rock medium and they are starting to grow into plants too.

PostHeaderIcon New Growth on water rooted pads

These pads were rooted in water, and they are now establishing themselves as growing plants.
Monday, June 6, 2011

PostHeaderIcon watering

It's been hot and dry enough to spray the cacti with the hose. Young seedlings need water more than older plants, but they all do better with a little water when the weather gets hot.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Pads Planted in Medium

A day after finding the roots growing May 3rd, these pads are planted in growing medium. They are covered with deer netting to prevent animals from catching them on their fur. Pads can go missing if they are not protected.

PostHeaderIcon Roots Growing in Water

The Opuntia fragilis pads in water suddenly grew roots. They became quite long in a few days.
Saturday, April 23, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Rooting in Water

These pads are in water on a hot pad under lights. They will start roots, be planted in pots and placed outdoors. They will grow into new plants this summer.

PostHeaderIcon Rooting in Growing medium

The Opuntia fragilis pads are placed on growing medium in a plastic tray. The medium is mostly rocks and small amounts of sand. The whole tray is wrapped in deer netting to prevent rodents like local rabbits accidentally moving the pads. The pin wheels are around to help keep animals away. The tray is outdoors and will sit in the sun and rain where the pads will put down roots and turn into small plants this summer.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Resting pads

These Opuntia fragilis pads are being kept under lights for four days to insure that they are dry. On April 18th we traveled to make sure we could find the collection site. We were surprised to find that the colony we were taking propagation materials from had been disturbed. Very little damage, but construction had disturbed some of the pads at the outer edge of this colony. These disturbed pads were chosen as collection material over taking more from the center of the colony. They provided about half of the needed collection materials, and the rest of the pads were taken from the edges of the plants in the middle of the colony. They will rest under the lights and then be set up in conditions for rooting next.

PostHeaderIcon Endangered and Threatened Species Permit 690

The purpose for Obtaining this permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is to; propagate Opuntia fragilis for prairie restoration activities. Search on - Endangered and Threatened Species Permit 690 - in this blog to follow this species.
Sunday, April 10, 2011

PostHeaderIcon cold frame with lid open

The plants are cactus seedlings wrapped in shade cloth. This will protect them even more for the winter in the cold frame. They also share space with local rodents, so the shade cloth prevents the seedlings from becoming winter time snacks.

The cold frame is still open, and is is clear the see that this is a very low tech device. Under the seed trays the ground is covered in broken bits of old side walk. They let moisture from the ground come into the air inside the cold frame. They have to be kept open until just before the snow comes so moisture does not build up inside. Then in the spring they are opened again as soon as the snow melts off of them.

PostHeaderIcon cold frame with lid removed

The cold frames are simply wooden boxes with lids covered in plastic. They let a lot of cold air inside and are not air tight. The key is that snow covers them for the winter, and they are deep enough that the plants sit below ground level.

PostHeaderIcon water seeds

This is the first truly hot day. The seed trays should not be germination till the end of May or after then. I still decided to spray water on the seed trays because it is warm enough to dry them out today. I suppose it will rain hard later tonight.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Astrophytum myrostigma

The night time temps. are in the 30s and 40s so the Astrophytum myrostigma cactus plants are back outdoors for some more direct sun.
Monday, April 4, 2011

PostHeaderIcon getting ready for spring scaria flies

It is still close to freezing at night, but it will start to warm up soon. I scattered Misquito Beater over the outdoor cacti today. This will provide a lot of prevention when soil flies or scaria flies start to hatch this spring. In case there are any eggs present on or around the cacti. This is especially important for seedlings and pots containing seeds that could germinate this spring. Adult cacti usually have few problems with these small flies, but I think it helps protect adult Pediocactus plants too.
Monday, March 14, 2011

PostHeaderIcon all open

The cold frames are all open and the snow has melted. The cacti are now getting direct sun and full exposure all weather conditions.
Saturday, March 12, 2011

PostHeaderIcon spring sort of on the way

The snow has melted enough to open 2 of the 4 cold frames. The cactus plants look great, and are still asleep. They are gray and shrunken as they should be in the winter. In a few weeks they will start to turn greener and take up water again, if the weather continues to warm up.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PostHeaderIcon more snow still

We had a blizzard, and this gave the cold frames more than a foot of new snow cover. This will keep the cacti very save if we get some sub zero weather.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PostHeaderIcon more snow

Snow is building up on the cold frame lids. Even though it is only a few inches this should help keep the cactus plants safe.
Thursday, January 6, 2011

PostHeaderIcon closed again

The cold frames are closed again with less than a quarter of an inch on them. Maybe there will be more snow in the next day or so... otherwise I should open them again.
Sunday, January 2, 2011

PostHeaderIcon cracked plastic

The cold frame lids are wood with clear plastic taped on to them. It is hard to believe this thin plastic held on by tape will support the weight of snow and ice over the winter, but it does. A cold frame doesn't get any cheaper than this. Now there is no snow, but when the cold frames were opened in freezing conditions one of them cracked. It is as if the cold makes the flexible plastic fragile like glass. I just put some clear packing tape over the cracks and that should get the structure through the winter. Next summer I probably should replace the plastic with some new plastic.
Saturday, January 1, 2011

PostHeaderIcon new year and no snow

Usually in December the snow comes and covers the cold frames with the cactus plants inside. These cacti stay covered by snow for the whole winter and in March the snow melts letting them have full sun again. This year some rain came and washed all the snow off the cold frames leaving behind very cold weather with no snow cover. I decided to reopen the cold frames and leave them open until some snow returns. The problem with keeping them closed is that the air inside will become moist from the ground; then freeze on the cold frame lid at night - only to melt in the daytime - which allows water to fall onto the cactus plants and then form ice. This would be bad for the plants. Keeping the lids open and letting the cactus plants be exposed to the dry cold air of winter will be safer than letting them get water drips on them.

It is strange to have no snow protection in January, but the cactus plants should still do well.