Autumn color puzzler

Here’s a photo I took in Buffalo about 20 years ago.  Buffalo, like many places in the northeast part of the country, has fantastic color changes in the fall.  This maple seems to have changed its mind part of the way through the process:

What do you think caused part of this tree to retain its green leaves?  Answer and another photo on Monday!

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

8 thoughts on “Autumn color puzzler”

  1. oh! I know this one!

    Some sort of streetlight or security light is shining on part of the tree, so it isn't getting signals from a changing day-length to turn color.

  2. I always thought this happened to maples because of the movement of the sap. As it drained from the limbs to the roots the green color would seem to "drain" from the tree.

  3. The cold weather/ snow stopped the color change? I noticed my white ash didn't change to its traditional purplish red color due to the early cold weather.

  4. I'm going to say – there's damage (disease, pests or mechanical) at some point on the trunk at or about where the colors change or don't change. Probably to the phloem which conducts the sugars – I think the sugars are trapped up topside.

    Maybe borers, mechanical damage, fungal infection to the upper portion of the trunk.

  5. I think SJ is one the right track. Do I see that the trunk is being restircted by roots chocking it, not allowing the return of the sugars to the roots

  6. I think I've heard that the younger parts of some trees, particularly maples will hold their leaves longer, and this will continue through much of the life of the tree.

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