California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘California Fall Color’

California Fall Color Looks Back at Autumn, 2013

Fri ,20/12/2013

On the last day of autumn, we look back at some of our favorite photographs of 2013, while expressing thanks to all who contributed photos and reports.

Special thanks are expressed to Inyo County, Mono County, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, Humboldt County C&VB, and The California Parks Company for making California Fall Color possible. A special nod to Ron Tyler for helping to create this Animoto video.

Vibrant Fall Colors Enliven Southern California

Thu ,12/12/2013
LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Autumn is “winding down” at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, reports color spotter Frank McDonough, who sends these vibrant photographs.

Tule Pond, LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Tule Pond, LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Pomagranate bush, Japanese maple, Gingko biloba "canopy" (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Pomagranate bush, Japanese maple, Gingko biloba “canopy” (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Mexican marigold, Tagetes lemmonii; Fishtail Ginkgo at the Herb Garden (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Mexican marigold, Tagetes lemmonii; Fishtail Ginkgo at the Herb Garden (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Meadowbrook, LA Co. Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Meadowbrook, LA Co. Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

LA County has, along with most of the far west, experienced very cool nights (around freezing) and clear, sunny days, providing ideal conditions for leaf color development.   Frank writes, “I’m starting to see red leaves on some of the east coast oaks here, and our Diamyo oak (Quercus dentate) just might develop its full color –something that doesn’t happen often.”

The intense colors seen in these photos are the result of an incorrectly balanced white card in Frank’s camera – he apologizes for the mistake – though we find it to be a lovely interpretation and representative of how many California impressionists painted California landscapes.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - This a spectacular time to see naturally decorated trees, during the holidays, at the LA County Arboretum.

Location: Arcadia, Calif.
Temperature: 64.4 °F
Humidity: 31%
Dew point: 33.8 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Berkeley Birders Search for Painted Redstart, Find Fall Color

Tue ,03/12/2013
Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Color spotter Sandy Steinman started yesterday looking for a rare bird, the Painted Redstart which normally lives in Arizona, eastern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

It had somehow winged its way north to matriculate near Berkeley and ended up itself being studied by Redstart-fevered birders.

Steinman never was sure he saw the bird (perhaps a glimpse), though ended up taking these shots of spots of remaining fall color along Berkeley’s streets.

Past Peak – Berkeley - Spots of color can still be seen with some trees not fully turned.  The most exciting spot of fall color is the red, black and white Painted Redstart seen flitting through Berkeley’s urban forest.

A cold front will push through Northern California, beginning today, perhaps urging the Redstart to head back to Mexico and with days expected to be cold, chilling further prospects for color development in Berkeley and forcing global warming protestors from the steps of Sproul Hall to warm themselves, indoors.

 

Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Temperature: 46.4 °F
Humidity: 51%
Dew point: 30.2 °F
Wind speed: 7km/hr
Wind direction: 340°
Cloud cover: n/a

Giving Thanks

Thu ,28/11/2013
Mammoth Creek, Sunday  Evening (10/13/13) Susan Morning

Mammoth Creek, Sunday Evening (10/13/13) Susan Morning

Each year on Thanksgiving Day, California Fall Color gives thanks to the nearly 60 color spotters and photographers who provided reports.

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

The following individuals contributed reports and photographs to this blog this year: Richard McCutcheon, Jared Smith, Krisdina Karady, Christie Osborne, Leanne K, Alicia Vennos, Jon Klusmire, Donna Mercer, Zach Behrens, Carolyn Webb, Ethan James, ShaleAnn Cluff, Susan Morning, Bart Godett, Shae Garrett, Dave McKernan, Jeff Simpson, Rick E Martin, Grace Smith, Laurie Baker, Michael Frye, Susan Johnson, Sandy Steinman, Michael Han, Dotty Molt, Roy Kennedy, Adam Nilsson-Weiskott, Jaganath Achari, Peter Chun, Rachel Jackson, Karen Moritz, Jeff Titcomb, Charlene Burge, Nina Sazevich, Barbara Steinberg, Dave Kingman, Aki Yamakawa, Vijay Sridhar, Phoebe Chuason, Brian Reilly, Grant Roden, Jerry Steffen, Kimberly Kolafa, Daniel Rosenthal, Jim Beau, Linnea Wahamaki, Steve Wolfe, Lisa Wilkerson-Willis, Susan Taylor, Edina Ingram, Stephany Fernandez, Ralph Lockhart, Frank McDonough, Anissa Granados, Son H. Nguyen, Liliana Navia and Mathias van Hesemans.

North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

Without question, many others contributed, as well.  For those who we overlooked or did not know, please know that we are indebted to each of you for your efforts, talents, attentiveness and generosity in providing others reports on what you witnessed. This list is incomplete without including Joan, my wife, who has humored my recording color percentages, species and elevations as we would travel here and there and – more importantly – point out particularly beautiful color on our travels across California.  Every person should have so dear and understanding a friend, companion and lover.

Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest (10/12/13) Lisa Wilkerson-Willis

Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest (10/12/13) Lisa Wilkerson-Willis

Special thanks are also expressed to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.  And, of course to the many tens of thousands of people who have followed and contributed to this site, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.  You are, after all, the reason we do this.

Our first “fall color report” was published on August 1, 43 days earlier than we reported, last year, and the first GO NOW! alert was reported on September 9, a full week before the first report was made, last year.  The first full peak was reported on Sept. 19, days before the Autumnal Equinox.

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek  (8/1/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek (8/1/13) Richard McCutcheon

Yes, this was one of the earliest shows of fall color that we’ve reported in the five years CaliforniaFallColor.com has existed.  It’s impossible to measure one year against another.  We’ll let you judge the photos contributed by color spotters and photographers.  Though, more photos posted on California Fall Color were recognized by major media this year, than in any previous year.

We fully expect to continue to receive fall color reports in December, particularly from Southern California, confirming our claim that California has the longest and most varied season of autumn color in North America. California quite possibly holds the world record for the duration of its autumn show.  It doesn’t peak over a couple of weeks here, it peaks across four to five months.

Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Further, as one of the few Mediterranean climate regions on Earth, California is able to grow a variety of colorful foliage that provides a spectacle unmatched anywhere.  Our urban forests can be as spectacular as the national forests. The variety of foliage here, combined with California’s varied terrain, climates and elevations combines to make our fall color the most varied and long-lasting for leaf peepers, photographers and nature lovers. Doubting Thomases need only click through any year on the archive, at left, to see the progression of color across The Golden State.

Black Oak, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (10/19/13) Charlene Bruge

Black Oak, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (10/19/13) Charlene Bruge

The change of color this autumn was particularly impressive.  We received reports from those traditional places, well-known for their impressive displays (e.g., Bishop Creek Canyon, the June Lake Loop, Plumas County), but also from places that hadn’t reported previously (e.g., Big Bear, Mt Laguna, Mt Palomar).

For future reference, anyone can be a color spotter.  Should you see great fall color, email a cell phone picture to editor@californiafallcolor.com.  Include a caption stating when the picture was taken, where the photo was taken, what type of foliage is seen in the photo (if you know it) and your name.  We’ll post the photo and recognize you.  The best photos, each week, are shared with media and often appear (with credit) on TV weather reports and in newspapers across California.

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

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

Presently, there’s still beautiful fall color to be seen and enjoyed.  It’s mostly showing  in the state’s urban forests (San Francisco, the San Francisco Peninsula, South Bay and East Bay, its vineyards, the Gold Country, Central Coast and Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties).  And, it hasn’t ended; spots of fall color will warm the winter landscape well into December.

So, CaliforniaFallColor.com will continue to report it as we receive reports.  Though, as of today we will stop sending weekly updates and photographs to California meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers for what’s left of fall 2013.  Until next autumn, keep looking for California’s Fall Color.

75 – 100% – California - In my heart, it is always peaking.

It Blew Right Past

Mon ,25/11/2013

“It blew right past,” seems an appropriate description for today’s California Fall Color report, as just like a California street rod, this past week’s blustery weather blew right past.

While the wind storm was here, it blew away most of what remained of turned color in the Shasta Cascade, Sierra foothills and northern Central Valley.  Reports were similarly received from Southern California, though the wind is not expected to have appreciably changed the show down south, as color develops in spurts there and will continue to show into December.

The grand show of color in northern California’s urban forests is now gone with the wind, having tumbled away in the breezes, revealing bare branches on towering London Plane Tree and elms.  Blue oaks continue to carry halos of buff-orange leaves, though that color has been reduced in intensity.  Likewise, Cottonwood have lost a lot of their luster, though neighboring wetlands are identified by their glow.

Fall color will continue to brighten urban areas during Thanksgiving Day week.

LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

Fri ,22/11/2013
California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Colder temperatures and light rain have caused an intensification of color across Los Angeles County, as evidenced by these photos provided by Frank McDonough a botanical information consultant at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Gardens.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - Reports from Southern California indicate perfect fall color conditions with crystal clear skies and bright color.

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Location: Arcadia, Calif.
Temperature: 62.6 °F
Humidity: 45%
Dew point: 41 °F
Wind speed: 4km/hr
Wind direction: 200°
Cloud cover: few clouds

Shasta Cascade Rapidly Approaching Past Peak

Thu ,21/11/2013

Color spotter Grace Smith sends the last report of autumn from the Shasta Cascade.

Please note: the GO NOW! Alerts posted here are only valid through today.  As, the Shasta Cascade region of Northeast California is expected to be lashed by gusting, high winds.  The Shasta Cascade region will almost surely be Past Peak after it stops blowing.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% –  Tehama County – The Red Bluff area is at peak, with Sacramento Valley oaks mostly burnt orange, though that won’t last much longer, and with winds predicted should be past peak by the weekend.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Shasta County - Remnant fall color is found at spots throughout Shasta County at Anderson, near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and in Redding.  The last of it – given that it isn’t blown all the way to the coast, will provide harvest glow to the Thanksgiving Day week.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100%  - Butte County – Chico and Butte County are finally at full peak. There is still quite a bit of color left on the trees, despite many of them littering the landscape with yellow, orange, red and brown confetti this past weekend. The best color remains along the boulevards of Chico and at Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 and Hwy 99 corridors, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.

Location: Redding, Calif.
Temperature: 55.4 °F
Humidity: 40%
Dew point: n/a
Wind speed: 20km/hr
Wind direction: 20°
Cloud cover: n/a

Yes and No

Thu ,21/11/2013
Protest beside the Wheeler Oak, UC Berkeley | © Eric Broder Van Dyke | Dreamstime.com

Protest beside the Wheeler Oak, UC Berkeley | © Eric Broder Van Dyke | Dreamstime.com

In our last posting two days ago, we asked if the color would survive this past week’s moisture.  The answer is “Yes and No.”

Much of the turned color across California was blown from branches, though pockets of bright color remain in areas where trees had not fully turned.  One of them, color spotter Sandy Steinman reports, is Berkeley, where beautiful color is seen within the East Bay city’s urban forest.

The City of Berkeley is so devoted to trees, that there’s a city department devoted to forestry.  That department reports Berkeley plants over 600 trees a year.  Those trees provide both ambience and financial benefits.  A 2005 report estimated that they provide approximately $3.5 million in annual benefits to the community, including: shade that reduces the need for air conditioning and electrical use, improved air quality, reduced costs of storm water runoff, and improved property values.

The University of California at Berkeley shares its city’s passion for trees, as much as its students do protesting perceived wrongs.  The old expression, “Meet me at the Wheeler Oak,” has been used as a hookup line by students, since the campus was founded.  In front of Sproul Hall (seen above), this venerable Coast Live Oak stood until it grew ancient and sickly, to be replaced by a younger oak.  An online guide to campus trees provides the background and directions to UC Berkeley’s most interesting trees, including artistic Italian Stone Pine, California Buckeye, majestic London Plane Tree and Blue Gum Eucalyptus that are believed to be the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America.

With winds predicted to gust to 70 mph across Northern California today, much of the remaining color along Berkeley’s boulevards is likely to be blown away, though that, too, will provide quite a show.

Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Temperature: 51.8 °F
Humidity: 100%
Dew point: 51.8 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: scattered clouds

Weather Arrives, Will Color Survive?

Tue ,19/11/2013
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

Sun ,17/11/2013

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