California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Archive for November, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

Wed ,30/11/2011

Redbud before the storm (11/30/11) © 2011 John Poimiroo

Same redbud, after the storm (11/30/11) © 2011 John Poimiroo

It didn’t even take “24 little hours” for the color to disappear in El Dorado Hills.  These two photographs of a Redbud, covered with yellow leaves were taken four and a half hours apart, as gale force winds lashed northern California today.  Some of the color survived, but much was blown from the trees.

75 – 100% – Sierra Foothills - A major windstorm lashed the Sierra Foothills, denuding some species of their colorful leaves, though leaving many other trees with lots of leaves on their branches.

75 – 100% – UC Botanical Garden - Color Spotter Sandy Steinman of Natural History Wanderings has posted lovely photos taken within the botanical garden at UC Berkeley, showing that there’s still plenty of beautiful autumn color to be seen in the San Francisco Bay Area, if you know where to wander!  CLICK HERE to see his excellent report.

Tallac Knoll with shaving brush tree at right (11/29/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Ginkgo biloba Saratoga, LA County Arboretum (11/29/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

50 – 75% – LA Arboretum and Garden -Frank McDonough reports that fall color is still coming along at the Arboretum with 60%-75% of all trees here that change color having turned, but the predicted 60-70 mph winds lashing the state could be a death knell for fall color there.  Still, anyone who says there isn’t fall color in Southern California hasn’t looked out from the arboretum’s Tallac Knoll across the landscape, as seen at left.

Liquidambar, LA County Arboretum (11/29/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Littering the Landscape with Beauty

Mon ,28/11/2011

If awards were given for fall color reports this autumn, Alicia Vennos of Mono County, Katie Shaw from the Shasta Cascade,  Frank McDonough from Los Angeles County, Richard McCutcheon of Plumas County and Jared Smith from Inyo County would be the nominees, as each supplied lots of great reports.

The latest comes from Katie who says it’s all Past Peak in the Shasta Cascade.  Here’s her latest report:

Butte County:

Past Peak- Butte County- Most of the color is gone, see you next year!

Past Peak – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area-  Wow, that was a quick season change for the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area!   Basically, the park is just past peak with many golds and yellows still dotting the forest. The colors are fading as fast as the leaves are dropping, so if you want to catch this color make sure to visit this week.

Past Peak- Burney Falls State Park – While there are a few leaves still clinging to the trees, the fall colors have mostly receded till next year.

Tehama County:

Past Peak- Lassen Volcanic National Park- Lassen is past its peak and due to weather there is very little left in terms of fall color.

Lassen County:

Past Peak- Bizz Johnson Trail- There is still some color left on the Trail, especially near the waterways. In general though, the forest is covered with brown leaves clinging to their trees and evergreens.

Siskiyou County:

Past Peak- Mt. Shasta- Due to weather conditions, very few leaves are left on the trees. Old Man winter is now in charge.

Trinity County:

Past Peak- Weaverville- Winter has moved into the Weaverville area, but patches of color can still be seen for the avid adventurer.

Plumas County:

Past Peak- Plumas County-  Due to snow, the majority of the fall color is gone, but don’t be surprised if you see a few oak trees hanging onto their color with an iron fist.

Modoc County:

Past Peak – Modoc County- Due to the cold and windy conditions, Fall is pretty much over in Modoc county except for maybe a few tough leaves.

Thanks to Katie and all the other CaliforniaFallColor spotters who have so diligently reported the change of season this autumn.  We’ll continue to post reports as received, as there’s likely still a lot of great color to be seen.  Presently, it’s raining leaves in the Central Valley and Sierra Foothills, with orange, gold, red and auburn littering the landscape with beauty.

Whiskeytown – Last Taste of Color in the Shasta Cascade

Wed ,23/11/2011

Color spotter Cynthia Shedd provides the final fall color report before Thanksgiving Day, reporting that there’s still color to appear at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, though the national park is vibrant with red, orange and yellow.

Butte County:

Past Peak- Butte County- Don’t worry, be happy! Though it’s past peak in Butte County, there is still quite a bit of color to be seen.   The Maples and Oaks are hanging on strong to their leaves. Rustic reds and modest yellows are the primary colors covering the trees up high and the forest floors down low.

Shasta County:

50-75% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- Come out to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area if you are still seeking fall color. The park is slowly growing closer and closer to reaching peak and the Oranges, Yellows, and Reds are all vibrant.

 Past Peak- Burney Falls State Park – While there are a few leaves still clinging to the trees, the fall colors have mostly receded till next year.

 Tehama County:

Past Peak- Lassen Volcanic National Park- Lassen is past its peak and due to weather there is very little left in terms of fall color.

Lassen County:

Past Peak- Bizz Johnson Trail- There is still some color left on the Trail, especially near the waterways. Winter winds have picked up so grab a jacket and make sure to hike through this whirlwind of tranquil color.

Siskiyou County:

Past Peak- Mt. Shasta- Due to weather conditions, very few leaves are left on the trees. Old Man winter is now in charge.

Trinity County:

Past Peak- Weaverville- Winter has moved into the Weaverville area, but patches of color can still be seen for the avid adventurer.

Plumas County:

Past Peak- Plumas County-  Due to snow, the majority of the fall color is gone, but don’t be surprised if you see a few oak trees hanging onto their color with an iron fist.

Modoc County:

Past Peak – Modoc County- Due to the cold and windy conditions, Fall is pretty much over in Modoc county except for maybe a few tough leaves.

 

Urban Forests Dress Up for Thanksgiving

Wed ,23/11/2011

75 – 100% – Urban Forests - Northern California’s urban forests have been peaking this past week with majestic London planetree and ancient Chinese pistache spreading colored branches across Land Park in Sacramento.  The San Francisco Bay Area is dressed with red, yellow, gold and orange in time for Thanksgiving Day reunions.  Though holiday lights will soon overtake this natural show in the northstate, Southern California has more color to show through December.

Look But Don’t Touch

Sun ,20/11/2011

Japanese fruit wax tree, rhus succedanea (11/18/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

75 – 100% – LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden -Frank McDonough cautions to look but don’t touch the brilliant crimson Japanese fruit wax tree whose oils can cause an alergic reaction much like its cousin, poison oak.  Still, it is lovely to look at.

Frank reports that the arboretum and garden are at 75% of peak, but for those who are chronically tardy, bright yellow ginkgo trees will be showing color (weather permitting) following Thanksgiving Day.

So, this is the week to head to the LA County Arboretum to see the gorgeous colors seen in these images and to sense autumn at its glorious finale.

Paper birch and Japanese white birch (11/18/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Red maple, acer rubrum (11/18/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Chinese pistache (11/18/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Red oak, quercus robur (11/18/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

Gold and Bold Ginkgos in Redding

Sat ,19/11/2011

Ginkgo trees © 2011 DesktopNexus

Ginkgo trees are gold and bold in Redding, according to an article posted today by the Redding Record.  The showy trees are described as, “Pretty, prehistoric and sometimes putrid…” “tough enough to withstand an atomic bomb; and old enough to be called living fossils.”

“The trees have quite a track record,” the Record reports, having “outlived the dinosaurs. Even an atomic bomb didn’t faze them. Several ginkgos survived the blast of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in World War II and are still living, notes the The Ginkgo Pages, a website devoted to ginkgo trees.”

Marie Stadther, lead gardener for Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, which has among its facilities the Mediterranean-focused McConnell Arboretum and Garden, praises the Ginkgo for its”deep roots” which make “them unlikely to pop walkways or crack patios the way shallow-rooted trees do.”

The ginkgo tree is the lone survivor of the ancient family Ginkgoaceae. Fossils of ginkgo leaves date back more than 250 million years, according to an Oregon Department of Forestry publication. It is thought to have once covered the globe, but then the ice age shrank the tree’s territory and the tree was thought to be extinct until 1691, according to the Record.  There male and female ginkgos with female trees producing seeds with a yellow, fleshy exterior that drop in autumn and begin to ferment, giving off an offensive odor.  “Because of the stench, there’s little demand for female trees,” the Record reports, “Places to see mature ginkgos in Redding include Oregon Street near the downtown post office, the Sundial Bridge parking lot and the northeast side of Shasta College’s theater building. And now is the time to take a look. Ginkgos are in their glory in autumn.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Pops of Color Here and There in the Shasta Cascade

Thu ,17/11/2011

Color spotters Megan and Cynthia report from the Shasta Cascade that color has peaked in many parts of this vast region of northeast California, though spots of color can be seen in several places.

Butte County:

75- 100% – Butte County- Butte County is at peak.  A plethora of vibrant reds and yellows that are covering the mountain sides and lining the roadways. Look out especially for spectacular colors to be found in the Oak trees and Maple trees.

 

Hat Creek, Shasta County (11/17/11) © 2011 Dave Egbert

Shasta County:

75 – 100% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The lake is truly a sight to behold from any vista point.  Different areas of the lake are showing fall colors and change in their own unique way. The native trees are still green, hardly changing at all, while there is the most stunning change to be found among the exotic Chinese pistache, with vibrant oranges and deep reds. These trees are not native but are certainly beautiful, nonetheless.

75 – 100%- Burney Falls State Park- There is still color to be found in the park, though it is near past peak.  Golden leaves, and glimpses of reds can be seen on younger blacks oaks, while some trees have already switched into their winter coats. Grab a sweater, a picnic lunch, and a friend to enjoy this beauty, before it’s fully gone.

Tehama County:

Past Peak –  Lassen Volcanic National Park- Fall is long gone and winter has made its way into Lassen Volcanic National Park. There is no evidence of fall colors lingering. White snow has become the main force, as far as “color” goes.

Lassen County:

75 – 100% – Bizz Johnson Trail – This national recreation trail is still glowing with fall color.  To be seen are reds, oranges, golds, even an occasional green leaf along the trail.

Siskiyou County:

75-100% – Mt. Shasta- On the journey to the Mt. Shasta you will see golden yellows and brown leaves not only now covering the trees, but also coating the ground. It’s a prime time to grab a rake and bound into a mammoth size mountain of leaves.

Trinity County:

Past Peak – Weaverville- The peak has come and gone in the Trinity County area, though there is still color to be seen. Stick to the waterways and near rivers to see golds and brownsin the trees and on the forest floor.  This is a great time to take a scenic drive and enjoy the fall colors from the comfort of your vehicle.

Plumas County:

Past Peak – Plumas County- The County has already displayed its beautiful fall color show, but there are still a few straggling oaks that haven’t changed in the lower elevations. Throughout the region you can still see pops of color here and there.

Modoc County:

Past Peak – Modoc County - Due to the cold and windy conditions, the majority of the leaves are now coating the forest floor. There are a few still on the trees, but even those are expected to drop by the end of the week. Overall the forest is prepped for the arrival of winter.

A Cornucopia of Color

Thu ,17/11/2011

75-100% – Urban Forests - Urban areas throughout California are glowing colorfully in time for Thanksgiving Day.  Mild weather has contributed to keeping leaves and berries on the trees.  The colorful show has now descended among exotic trees to below 1,000 ft in elevation with Chinese pistache showing flame red, crabapples yellow to orange-red, Sycamores varying from chartreuse to burnt sienna, and plums radiating burgundy red.  Look for the color to continue through Thanksgiving week in the Sierra Foothills, Sacramento, Fresno and San Francisco Bay Area.

Pin Oak, Chinese Pistache, Crepe Myrtle flush in LA

Sun ,13/11/2011

Crepe Myrtle Show Their Color, LA Co. Arboretum (11/12/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum - Frank McDonough reports that of the trees to show color at the LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, half of their leaves have turned.  Visiting an arboretum is a great way to see what color appears on a tree and when it appears… useful in planning a garden.

Autumn Blaze, LA Co. Arboretum (11/12/11) © 2011 Frank McDonough

 

Shasta Cascade From Start to Finish

Thu ,10/11/2011

There’s a mixed report from the northeast corner of California, with color past peak at the highest elevations, peaking at mid elevations and still coloring up at lower elevations.

Butte County:

30-50%- Butte County- It’s going to be a late, but spectacular fall for Butte County. Reds and oranges are really beginning to POP, but the colors are in no hurry to leave. There are still quite a bit of greenery around, so head to Butte County if you are looking to enjoy the fall transition!

Shasta County:

50-75% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- Autumn is in no hurry this year at the  Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. A beautiful place to see fall colors in the park is along the J F Kennedy Memorial drive with a few Oaks turning all shades of red, yellow, and gold. Expect the park to only get more beautiful as the month progresses!

75-100%- Burney Falls State Park- Autumn has arrived at Burney Falls State Park with the entire park coated in color from the ground up! Green colors are next to gone with great yellows and browns taking center stage. Pine needles are covering the floor and providing a great carpet of color to present the rest of the park’s foliage.

Tehama County:

Past Peak – Lassen Volcanic National Park- Winter has arrived at the Park and after about a foot of snow, most of  the fall colors have become dormant.

Lassen County:

75 – 100 %- Bizz Johnson Trail- Though past its color peak, the trail still has a lot to offer in terms of fall color. The Cottonwoods and Oak trees are full of soft yellows and oranges,  so whether you choose to bike, hike, or ride your horse, make sure to check out this display of autumn color.

Siskiyou County:

75 – 100%- Mt. Shasta- Mt. Shasta this week will be experiencing its peak in fall color. There are some trees that are beginning to lose leaves but in general, the broadleaf trees and plants are holding strong and being very persistent to hold onto their color. Expect to see an assortment of yellows, reds, golds and browns on everything from the thimbleberries that line the forest floor to the tips of the oaks, maples, and dogwoods.

Trinity County:

75-100%- Weaverville- Fall is peaking in Trinity County. For the most abundant color, we recommend sticking along the river and near the creek beds. The Oak and Maple trees are sporting excellent coats of yellows and oranges, and the shrubbery by the river is displaying some other beautiful golden shades. There is still time to check out these fall colors, so make your way over to Trinity County!

Plumas County:

Past Peak – Plumas County - The County is past its peak in the higher elevations, but there are still some colors to be seen in the lower elevations, especially in the Feather River Canyon Area. The Oaks and Aspens are still holding onto their color, but even they are not expected to last much longer. Enjoy the colors while you can because the forest is beginning to shift into her winter wardrobe.

Modoc County:

Past Peak – Modoc County- Due to the cold conditions, most of the fall colors have retreated until next year, but there still may be some color and leaves left on in the lower elevations for the avid explorer.