Friday, May 6, 2011

Outdoor Nature Hour...Following Our Pecan Tree

A couple of weeks ago the littles and I decided to study our Pecan trees through the seasons this year.  Last year we studied our dogwood tree and observed its changes through spring, summer, fall and winter.  We thought the pecan trees would offer lots of nature journaling opportunities since they produce nuts in the fall and the squirrels work in them gathering nuts for the winter.

We began our study by breaking off a small branch and observing the small green leaves beginning to grow.  The flowers were still on the branches and the pollen was all over our van parked underneath.  The small limb had several caterpillars busily chomping away at the leaves.  So we pulled several larger limbs down to look for caterpillars.  There were lots of caterpillars on the lower limbs.  This was surprising because we had not even noticed this looking up at the limbs.

Here is the branch we broke off of one of the lower limbs.
There were lots of holes in the leaves.  The caterpillars were munching away.

The boys drew the branch with the caterpillars eating the leaves in their nature notebooks.

Little did I know that when I made these pictures a couple of weeks ago that the tree would soon look like this...
We not only lost our pecan and dogwood trees, but the hickory tree in the pasture that the boys studied in the fall was also lost...
Because of the storm damage we were able to look underground at the root ball of our pecan tree.
Daddy noticed one of the larger roots dripping water.  So we placed a half gallon jug under the drip.  By that night we had a half gallon of water in the jug.  The boys and daddy tried the water and said it tasted like a pecan.
We learned that mature pecan trees can use between 150-300 gallons of water per day in the hottest part of summer.
It was very interesting to see how large the root system of a tree can be...

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