California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Weather Arrives, Will Color Survive?

     Posted on November 19, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Bing Cherry, El Dorado Hills (11/17/13) John Poimiroo

Bing Cherry, El Dorado Hills (11/17/13) John Poimiroo

A storm will be crossing Northern and Central California today with rain and winds that are likely to strip trees of their color.  The show now has moved to sea level with urban forests at peak across the state.

This cherry tree was just beginning to turn when photographed on Sunday in the Sierra foothills.  In a storm, fully turned leaves are the most vulnerable.  They’ve lost much of their strength and are more easily blown from branches.  Still-green or slightly turned leaves will usually survive to turn color later.

The condition of California’s fall color is typical for this time of year with much of the best color still to be seen in urban forests where boulevard trees and parks will continue their show through Thanksgiving Day.  Parts of Southern California will still be turning through the holidays.

Location: Sacramento, Sacramento Executive Airport
Temperature: 51.8 °F
Humidity: 86%
Dew point: 46.4 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: overcast

Color Drops Below a Mile in the San Jacintos

     Posted on November 17, 2013 by John Poimiroo

Color spotter Jim Beau was in Idyllwild on Friday and reported, “It looks like this might be the last weekend of fall color in Southern California’s mountains (above a mile high).  Driving southbound from I-10 on Hwy 243, the oaks were pretty much done for the year.   

“On Thanksgiving weekend last year, we hit Idyllwild at peak fall color.  In comparison, this year was a bit of a disappointment.   Since a weak winter storm has moved into the area this weekend, it was pretty dreary up there, yesterday.  And, I don’t expect what little is left to last into next weekend.  So, it looks like it’s time to head to the lower elevations for fall color in Southern California.” 

Past Peak – Idyllwild - Black oaks  are now cloaked only in rusty brown leaves.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Mountain Center/Lake Hemet (4,500′) - Heading west on Hwy 74 near Mountain Center, there is a nice, mile-long section of oaks and a few cottonwoods at peak.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Hwy 74 (below 4,000′) - Heading west toward Hemet, the cottonwoods and sycamores were just starting to turn yellow and chartreuse.

 


Location: Hemet, Calif.
Temperature: 53.6 °F
Humidity: 72%
Dew point: 44.6 °F
Wind speed: 6km/hr
Wind direction: 130°
Cloud cover: broken clouds

Nevada City – Still Discovering Gold

     Posted on November 16, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Bigleaf maple, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Maple leaf, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Color spotter Dotty Molt (one of her photos was chosen as a California Fall Color Photo of the Week, sent to California media, last week) drove to Nevada City in the Gold Country, today to discover gold in the woods around this 1800s town.

Dotty reported, “Nevada City is a picturesque little town filled with surprisingly good restaurants, intriguing art galleries, and tree lined streets of historic homes that are still holding onto leaves of brilliant yellow, red, and orange.

Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

The Deer Creek Tribute Trail, which runs through this tiny town, is past peak, but definitely worth a trip back next year. Go now just to walk along the streets and enjoy the crisp fall air.”

Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Nevada City - While the woods surrounding Nevada City are  past peak, trees along the city’s blocks are still holding their color.  With a change in weather approaching, you probably ought to get there now, to see the remaining color, though it’s worth a trip, just for the autumn atmosphere that’s in the crisp Sierra Foothill air.

Location: Nevada City, Calif.
Temperature: 46.4 °F
Humidity: 56%
Dew point: n/a
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

SF Chronicle Busting the Myth of No Fall Color

     Posted on November 16, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Grape Leaves, Napa Valley (File Photo) John Poimiroo

Grape Leaves, Napa Valley (File Photo) John Poimiroo

Writing on the San Francisco Chronicle’s blog (SFGate.com), Christine del Sol busts the myth that California doesn’t have fall color (that’s a “No, duh!” to anyone who reads this blog, though a revelation to many coast-bound Californios).

CLICK HERE to be linked through to her story and see favorite photos from past fall displays. Hats off to color spotters Krisdina Karady, ShaleAnn Cluff, Jared Smith, Nicholas Barnhart, Kimberly Kofala, Rob McSkimming, Scott McGuire, Will Klair, Frank McDonough and Todd Stepien whose photos were chosen for the gallery of photos of California Fall Color.

Thank you, too, Christine and The Chron for recognizing the work of California Fall Color and its many color spotters.

California’s Urban Forests are – in a word – “Glorious”

     Posted on November 15, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Acapulco St., Campbell (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Acapulco St., Campbell (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

A road trip from the Sierra Foothills to Silicon Valley and back, today, provided opportunities to see how color is developing along the I-80, I-680 and I-880 corridors.  In a word, it is “glorious.”

Land Park, Sacramento (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Land Park, Sacramento (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Sacramento - Piles of leaves along Sacramento streets are a sure sign that the fall color is past peak on some species.  Sycamore are among them, though other large species in Sacramento are still yellow and orange, with spots of red.  Land Park, south of U.S. 50 and the Fabulous 40s in midtown have the best displays of color.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Dixon Agricultural Corridor - Orchards between Davis and Vacaville are at peak.

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Danville Oak (File Photo) Yelp

Danville Oak (File Photo) Yelp

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon - Native oak are softly pastel orange, while exotic species are blazing.  Color spotter Linnea Wahamaki sent along these shots taken this past week at the Livery Shopping Center in Danville.  We tip our hat to Danville which, Linnea reports, “Does a good job of planting and protecting trees, and is really gorgeous during the autumn season – as is evident by these stunning trees!”  Danville is one of California’s Cities of Trees, even with a landmark oak that has it’s own Yelp page.

Palo Alto (11/17/13) Mathias Van Hesemans

Palo Alto (11/17/13) Mathias Van Hesemans

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – San Francisco Peninsula - The Peninsula communities of Burlingame, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton are providing the best show of color in the Bay Area.

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Leaf pile on Pine in San Jose (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Leaf pile on Pine in San Jose (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Pomagranate, Silicon Valley (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Pomegranate, Silicon Valley (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

 

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Silicon Valley - The Santa Clara County communities of Campbell, Los Gatos and San Jose are dressed in fall foliage.  Brilliant stands of gingko are found along the boulevards.  Before it became known as Silicon Valley (for the silicon chips produced here by Intel), the Santa Clara Valley was known for growing fruit (apricots, plums and other tree fruit).

Today, a pomegranate bush along Pine in San Jose was heavy with ripe fruit.

Location: San Jose, Calif.
Temperature: 55.4 °F
Humidity: 61%
Dew point: 42.8 °F
Wind speed: 8km/hr
Wind direction: 320°
Cloud cover: few clouds

Warm, Dry Year Slows Southland Show

     Posted on November 14, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Pomegranate Bush and Japanese Maple (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Pomegranate Bush and Japanese Maple (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Color spotter Frank McDonough of the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens attributes a warm, dry year to “erratic” fall color.  That certainly could be the case, though the spots of color provided to us by Frank show bright and intense color at the Arboretum, so far.  Also, this week we received shots from Mt. Palomar that showed long-lasting color among the oaks.  We’re betting that LA County will continue to develop into December.

Eastern Red Oak, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Eastern Red Oak, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum - Warm, dry weather has tricked the trees, causing them to show sporadically and late in Southern California.

Tulip tree, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Tulip tree, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Flame leafed sumac and Nandina domestica (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Flame leafed sumac and Nandina domestica (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Location: El Monte, Calif.
Temperature: 86 °F
Humidity: 19%
Dew point: 39.2 °F
Wind speed: 7km/hr
Wind direction: 200°
Cloud cover: n/a

The Fire Keeps Burning in the Shasta Cascade

     Posted on November 14, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Chico (11/14/13) Stephany

Esplanade Ave., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

This long season of fall color keeps glowing in the Shasta Cascade with most of the region almost or past peak.  Still, there’s lovely color to be seen in Tehama County (Red Bluff), Shasta County (Redding), Trinity County (Weaverville) and in Butte County (Chico).  Here’s the latest from color spotter Grace Smith.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Tehama County – In its second week of full peak, Tehama County is showing varied color with some trees now dropping leaves. Maples are bright red and orange. Oaks are still short of peak, though deep amber to brown.  Bright yellow and burnt orange can also be seen on many trees throughout the county.

Citrus St., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

Citrus St., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Shasta County - Now in its third week of reported peak, Shasta County still has more color to give, though leaves are dropping rapidly. Oaks are yellowish to amber with some brown, and are about half there. Maples are at peak, with bright red and orange and some remaining yellow. Many are shedding color.  Top places to view the color are: The Sacramento River Trail, McConnell Arboretum, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, Clear Creek, the Battle Creek Wildlife Area near Coleman Fish Hatchery, and Anderson River Park.

Fall color at Chico State (11/14/13) Liliana Navia

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Butte County - Butte County is finally approaching peak with things starting to change rapidly. Many trees have lost a lot of their color, though there are broad splashes of brilliant yellow, orange and red at Bidwell Park, Chico State, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave in the Chico area.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Trinity County - Trinity County is bordering on past peak, though color spotter Grace Smith reports glimpses of fall color remaining along the drainages.  This, however, should be past peak within the week.

How Do It Know!?

     Posted on November 13, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Blue oak leaves, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

Blue oak leaves, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

“How do it know!?” is the silly punchline of the old joke about the guy, who claims the Thermos to be the world’s greatest invention, after his friends have named the printing press, airplane and computer as their choices.  He reasons, “In summer, it keeps a drink cold and in winter, it keeps a drink hot.  How do it know!?”

Yesterday, I had the same sort of experience upon seeing blue oak in the Sierra foothills suddenly dump piles of leaves.  It wasn’t a particularly breezy day, though it was overcast.  Then, a day-long shower of dry, buff, oak leaves littered the ground around my house to be raked, swept or blown into piles.

Blue oaks, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

Blue oaks, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

The same thing scene is occurring across California as trees shed their leaves.  Some species of oaks provide spectacular shows of color… the black oak  - growing between 4,000′ and 5,000′ in elevation – is one of them.  Though others, like the blue oak, will exhibit the slightest hint of orange color, as they change quickly from blue-green to dry-brown. That’s happening now in the Sierra foothills.

How do it know!?

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Sierra foothills (1,000′)

Location: El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Temperature: 48.2 °F
Humidity: 66%
Dew point: 37.4 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Hope Springs Eternal in So Cal

     Posted on November 12, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Black oak, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Black oak, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Pacific dogwood, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Pacific dogwood, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Palomar Mountain State Park - Color spotter Jimbo reports from Southern California that black oaks are peaking at Palomar Mountain State Park, adding that a few dogwoods have also changed.  “Unless there’s a windstorm, they should last at least thru next weekend. Heck, I’ve seen a few of them with yellow leaves after the first snow in December.”

That’s the spirit, Jimbo.  So. Cal. holds our record for the best late fall color in California.  Because of California’s varied elevations and foliage, there isn’t another place in the good ole U.S. of A. that has a longer lasting or a more varied fall color season. Considering the stunning photos color spotters have shared this autumn, we challenge any state in the Union to show more variety or beauty.

 

Location: Ramona, Calif.
Temperature: 44.6 °F
Humidity: 70%
Dew point: 35.6 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Amador County Looks/Tastes Delicious

     Posted on November 11, 2013 by John Poimiroo
Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Amador County - Color spotter Dotty Molt forwards these lovely photos taken in the vineyards of Amador County and reports that thanks to Robin Bray of Bray Vineyards, Dotty was allowed to “wander in and around beautiful multi-colored vines.”  She adds, “The colors are at peak, and if you’re headed that way, try to get there soon as the weather is changing.  And make sure you stop in for a tasting. Yum!”

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Location: Plymouth, Calif.
Temperature: 59 °F
Humidity: 22%
Dew point: 21.2 °F
Wind speed: 6km/hr
Wind direction: 100°
Cloud cover: n/a