Fearless fall color predictions

Happy Labor Day!   Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable 3-day weekend.  Labor day is the unofficial end of summer, which means fall is just around the corner.  In fact, fall may be a little early this year around these parts.  We are already starting to pick up some fall color – mainly maples, sassafras, and sumac.  I usually get some calls from various media outlets asking for predictions on fall color.  It’s always a dicey proposition.  Weather going into fall is certainly a factor for fall color, but conditions during the fall itself are the final trump card.  As I noted, we’re likely to see an early fall here in the Upper Midwest and, if we don’t start getting some decent rain, I suspect it could be a relatively short season as trees begin to drop leaves early due to continuing drought stress.  Of course, all this can change relatively quickly if we get into a different weather pattern.

July 28, 2012. Sumac in fall color near DeWitt, MI.

Speaking of fall leaf color, the Fall Color Guy (aka Dr. Howard Neufeld, Appalachian State Department of Biology) has started his annual reports.  http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors .  This site is a great resource if you’re planning on doing some leaf peeping in the Appalachians.  And even if you aren’t, I still recommend this site as one of the best on the biology of leaf color.

2 thoughts on “Fearless fall color predictions”

  1. I SO enjoyed your debate with the native purists. I am an ornamental hort specialist with Un. of TN extension and have written several columns about the issue, even spoke on it at OFA a couple of years ago: Native Plants: More Hype than They Deserve? was my title and as you may imagine caught a lot of flak. I’d love to send my columns to you to arm you with more for upcoming debates (which are inevitable!) I’m a friend of Jeff’s, and for a time did the Q&A for Horticulture Magazine (to prove I’m not a nutcase!) Send me your email if you are interested.

  2. Carol, would you like to be a Visiting Professor? We do posts for other faculty now and then. If so, feel free to send it/them to me along with any photos you might like to use. Thanks for the offer!

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