Japan Town Cherry Tree Planting

Friends of the Urban Forest will be planting 45 flowering cherry trees in San Francisco’s Japan Town on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  To participate in the volunteer effort, contact Sally Bentz at 415-268-0783 or sally@fuf.net.  Instruction on proper tree planting will occur at 9 a.m.

Will Calif Fall Color Continue?

Rose Hips, Napa Valley, 2009 (John Poimiroo)

Rose Hips, Napa Valley (10/17/09)

Amazing, but with a month to go before the official start of autumn, a few of the exotic ornamental trees in our area (Sierra Foothills, 800 ft. elev.) have begun showing signs of change.  Along local boulevards, some branches on Chinese pistache have turned brown.  Now that’s probably something peculiar to those trees, as everything else remains green on what has been an otherwise mild summer for California, after a wet winter.

California Fall Color may fall sooner than the leaves, however.  This blog was begun with financial support from a few destinations in California that experience spectacular fall color.  In order to be fully representative of our name, however, we included reports from across California at no cost to other destinations.  However, this summer we learned that the funding that supported California Fall Color isn’t available as in past years or will be used for other purposes, so funding to support weekly reporting here has been lost.

Without financial support, it is not possible to allocate the time needed to collect and process weekly submitted reports, as well as do my own reporting.  Part of the reason is California’s long fall color season (longest, most varied and perhaps the most spectacular in the USA).  It begins in early September, when color begins to show at the highest elevations of the Eastern Sierra and descends by elevation through the end of November.

I plan to post occasional reports, but only when received by color spotters.  I won’t be sending weekly fall color reports to TV weather reporters, newspapers, blogs and social media as in the past few years, mostly because the basic funding to do so isn’t there, so I apologize to those media who’ve come to depend on California Fall Color for accurate and regularly posted reports and photographs.

If you’re a color spotter or want to be, email reports and photos to us.  What we need is a detailed a description of what you saw: type of foliage, colors seen, where seen and degree of change (your assessment of what percentage of total foliage has turned color: 0-15%, 15-30%, 30-50%, 50-75%, 75-100% or Past Peak.  Peaking color is above 50%.  This is the same scale used by The Weather Channel).

Share what you see and and let’s all look forward to a colorful autumn.

Photo Credit: © 2009, John Poimiroo

Putting a Facebook on Death Valley Flowers

Anticipating a better than average wildflower season in the California deserts, wildflower watchers have set up a “Death Valley Flowers” Facebook group to alert others where the wildflowers are blooming. 

Wet winters often result in colorful blooms of cactus and wildflowers in Death Valley National Park and desert areas east of the Sierra.  This year, the Armagosa River has been flowing steadily and water covers the lowest salt flats of Badwater Basin creating the infrequent appearance of Lake Manly, a shallow lake about eight inches deep and about three miles wide. 

Indicators such as this are raising hopes among Death Valley wildflower enthusiasts for profuse wildflower blooms this spring.  The National Park Service is now reporting tiny sprouts that appear like a “fuzz of green” on alluvial fans and hillsides.  Within weeks those areas could be covered with wildflowers, as observers expect the wildflowers to bloom between late March and early April.

Wild flower updates are posted by Death Valley National Park at www.nps.gov/deva and the new Facebook group is found by searching for “Death Valley Flowers.”  Photographs and updates are posted on it.

See You Next Autumn

Today marks the first day of winter, though Jack Frost truly arrived on the weekend following Thanksgiving Day.  And so, officially, California Fall Color will remain dormant until fall arrives in 2010.  Thanks again to all who contributed fall color reports this year… see you again at the end of summer.

Announcing California Fall Color

Black Oak, Upper Yosemite Fall (file photograph) – John Poimiroo

Some people believe there’s no change in season in California.  They don’t know where to look.

California has a beautiful and varied seasonal change, as this blog will attest.

Following Labor Day and continuing to Thanksgiving Day, CaliforniaFallColor.com will report where it’s peaking, what’s peaking, where to stay and lead readers to fall color resources.

To comment on any report or add your own, just click on a headline or email editor@californiafallcolor.com.