Living the Dream: Matt LaScala

Matt LaScala

Botanist

Adakai

Phoenix, AZ

With fall upon us, we are getting ready to shift out of our summer protocols (in summer we split between morning and afternoon bays to help mitigate heat load and expedite cooling). Daytime highs have been observed below 85 degrees and the forecast shows further cooling in the following weeks, so we should have no issues making this biannual transition.

Getting through the summer is no small feat in the desert and we always prepare as much as possible, but, inevitably, we learn some things each summer. It is highly recommended to get all preventative maintenance done on crucial systems and stock up on consumables prior to the hot season, because chances are you are not the only one who is going to be in need when things start heating up.

We recently experienced a good amount of rain (more than three inches in the past four weeks), which is unheard of in the desert. Besides serving as a clear seasonal delineation, it has been very interesting observing how the surrounding vegetation and native species react to the extra rainwater. Our integrated pest management (IPM) program probably took the most noticeable impact because with the rain came a large influx of nuisance insects (mosquitoes, scorpions, crickets, etc.).

Luckily our IPM system is robust and we were able to detect the influx with our monitoring practices, assess the problem/pest populations, make appropriate changes to beneficial insect deployment schedules and minimize the impact on our plants.

So pay attention to the weather outside, especially in extreme climates; it can be very helpful when diagnosing a problem or anticipating a change.

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