Success and Some Set-Backs

September 2, 2019

South Plot. Sacramento Narrow Leaf.

I check the plants daily. The South Plot looks great. Last Friday, when I was watering from my rain water tank, I got distracted and left the water running. It overflowed the trough and flooded the milkweed plot. When I remembered, I was horrified. The plot is sloped with a berm at the the bottom where I placed the showy milkweed since they like it a little more wet than other species. One of the showy milkweeds was completely submerged! The ground was completely saturated. I was out there bailing and trying to redirect the water. Finally, covered in mud, I had gotten most of the water away so the plant was no longer submerged. I can only hope that I did not kill its roots and that it will grow back next year. I was so mad at myself.

Showy milkweed that was submerged 3 days later.

I did learn some lessons from that horrible error. One, I should not delay in getting a real hose with nozzle for that tank (instead of a hose that was butchered by gophers, so no connection for a nozzle. ). Two, and most important, the other plants appeared to really like the soaking. The South Plot is really happy as compared to the North Plot.

North Plot. Mariposa narrow leaf.

The North Plot is not doing as well. I lost the special Madera woolly pod within a day of its being planted. It never seemed to take to the transfer. The two showy milkweeds seemed to transfer ok, but withered within a couple of days. Finally, one of the Sacramento narrow leafs is just a stick. It is standing straight up stiff, so I will take that as a good sign that it is just part of the change to dormant status. Ron said that the roots can be alive after the leaves have all fallen. I hope that all of them got some root growth and will come back next year. I am theorizing that the later planting of the North Plot, which was two weeks after the South Plot, is the largest contributing factor to their lower success.

The plants in the North Plot looked a bit toasted today, so I gave them some extra water. Maybe I should soak the ground with 200 gallons of water like the South Plot!

North Plot. Mariposa narrow leaf looking a little bit toasted.

The Mariposa narrow leaf pictured above had its roots stuck to the peat at the base of the pot. When I transferred it, I had to peel the roots out of the pot. I though, “This little guy isn’t going to make it. It is going to be too traumatized.” I was wrong! This little guy is one of the plants doing the best. It looked a bit toasted today, but again, I don’t know if it is transferring to dormant status because it was in a pot longer than the plants in the South or if it just needed more water. I decided to provide more water just in case.

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