Crow’s Nest: Fall color status and predictions

October 5, 2013

Right now the sassafras trees are an intense burning orange; Virginia creeper a deep crimson, and dogwoods starting to turn a rich burgundy. Other plants—spicebush, walnut, and tuliptree—are starting to turn yellow. The ash trees, usually a clear yellow, this year were a total loss for fall color; their leaves just shriveled brown and dropped. Red maples are just starting to turn red and oaks are all still green.

We’ve had extremely dry weather lately—only one rainfall in almost a month—following an extremely wet summer season. I suspect that when things were wet plants grew more leaves than can be supported when it’s so dry. It also has been warm, so we may not have an outstanding year for fall color. But the nice weather itself has been glorious.

I think the peak of fall color will occur next weekend (conveniently, the date of our fall color walk) but things also look great now. The goldenrod is finishing up but this has been an exceptional year for asters in our meadows. And next week’s rains, though welcome, will knock many leaves off of trees even as others begin to turn color.

Posted by Daniel Barringer on October 5, 2013.