Nature’s ‘October surprise’

A funny thing happened on the way to the predicted drab fall colors.

The colors of the changing foliage turned out to be magnificent, despite the warnings that the summer-long drought would be a drag on things.

“Initially we felt we’d see fall color early because of the hot and dry weather, but reports from foresters around the states show the trees don’t agree with that theory,” Paul Tauke, Iowa Department of Natural Resources forestry bureau chief, told the Waterloo Courier.

It turns out that the hot, dry weather favors red colors. Here’s a good explanation of the science of it all from the CBC.

Meanwhile, Scientific American claims today that climate change could delay fall foliage. They should look out the window.

  • davidz

    This is one of the nicest fall seasons that I can remember — I think the lack of significant weather events has stretched out the time when the leaves have changed color and yet remain on the trees.

    No rain/wind storm to blow everything off just as they change. Just beautiful sunny days to bring people outside to enjoy what we’ve got.

    This is probably the time of year that I most appreciate living in Minnesota.

  • Pat M

    The weather has been delightful. The color is spotty. In the north metro which has had less rain than even Minneapolis, it seems half the trees are just drying up and dropping their leaves. There are some gorgeous trees but many are dropping dried brown leaves the day after they start to turn. Which is too bad, because as davidz said, the weather has been perfect for leaf viewing.

    I saw a stunning yellow clump of trees in a yard yesterday. Gorgeous until I realized they were spruce. The drought is taking its toll.

  • Alanna in WI

    You should come to Duluth! The colors are absolutely gorgeous! It doesn’t matter where you are, the trees are putting on quite a show.

  • KTFoley

    “Gorgeous until I realized they were spruce.” Not tamarack? I saw a few of those going yellow and dropping needles early, too.

  • Pat M

    KTFoley, Yes. They’re spruce. They are in the neighbor’s yard across the street.

  • Bob Collins

    One of the things I learned out at the MN Landscape Arboretum is that Minnesotans shouldn’t plant blue spruce trees. They’re incompatible with the Minnesota climate and are good for about 20 years.

    I didn’t want to believe her but this summer I cut down one and the four that are left look awful and really took a beating a few years ago in the winter.

  • Pat M

    Bob, Thanks for that info. Those spruce have been in the ground approximately 15 years. So there you have it. Nearing the end of their life and the last few years of drought seem to be hastening their decline.

  • John P.

    Uh-Oh. The 31 year old Blue Spruce in my front yard apparently does not realize it is 11 years past it’s expiration date!