Foliar tree nutrition sampling apparatus

                This project is born out of the need to sample a very large number of trees to make more statistically sound judgment of how a forest is growing. Currently there are around 200 samples needed in the months of August through early December. These samples are taken from the third whorl of the tree, which is the third year’s growth from the top of the tree. This part of the tree is, for the most part, found around 70 to 120 feet from the ground. From the third whorl only the outer most part of the branch, that year’s growth is needed. These samples must be taken as complete as possible; otherwise certain statistics cannot be taken. Once the samples are taken the needles are removed counted and ground into a powder for nutrient analysis. The current way these samples are taken is by having a trained climber climb the tree and then use a very ungainly lopper that can be extended to about thirty feet beyond where the climber is and the sample is cut. There are many drawbacks to these methods where knowledge of the forest is needed. There is a long training period for the climbers for insurance’s sake, at the same time if the climber could be eliminated from the equation that would reduce the inherent risk of sending a person around 70 feet into a tree. The other concern of the project is time on average the climber takes around 45 minutes a sample. This increases the number of people need for the job to get the needed number of samples. This project should produce a product that will make the act of retrieving the sample much safer and reduce the time needed to take said sample.

Problem Picture

Team Picture

 
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