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Lights, Camera, Action!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Lights, Camera, Action!
Spray paint mapping out where sap flow meters will be installed

These past few week I have been working on setting the stage for my experiment. My project has changed a bit since my first post, and I am now studying the impact of an injury on the rate of sap flow in Pin oaks. Choosing the trees and installing the sap flow meters was a process that was completely new to me.


Even before we went outside, we mapped out where we wanted to put the sap flow meters.

A white board with a diagram of a tree, and where on the tree the sensors will be, drawn in blue
Mapping sensor location


Once outside, we measured the diameter of the Pin oaks. This was important because we wanted to install the sap flow sensors in trees that were of comparable size. This was my first time using a DBH tape, which tells you the diameter of the tree based on the circumference. This is Alyssa, another fellow at the Arboretum, measuring the DBH.

Using a yellow tape to measure the diameter of a Pin oaks
Alyssa measuring the DBH of a Pin oak


Next we spray painted where the injury and sensors would be.

Pink "X"s spray painted on a tree to shows where sensors will be installed
Spray painting where the sensors will go

Then we began chiseling away the bark. The sap flow sensors only work if they are installed in the sapwood located behind the bark.

A person using a orange chisel to remove the bark of the tree
Alyssa chiseling away the bark


After that we drilled holes for the sensor’s needles to go inside. We practiced drilling the hole in a severed piece of tree trunk before moving on to the Pin oaks.

Drilling a tiny hole in a severed tree trunk
Practicing drilling holes

We then attached the sensors and strapped them onto the tree. We also connected the sensors to solar panels that keep them charged and running. The sap flow sensors will be left on for the next week. About half way through the week, we will be injuring the tree and seeing how the data on the rate of sap flow changes.

Four sensors installed in the side of a Pin oak
Complete installation of the sap flow meters