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Exotic Species Color Up in LA & Orange Counties

Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum  (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California Fall Color has observed over the years that species change color according to their own internal clock.  That’s certainly occurring at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia, where Frank McDonough reports the color change there “has been sporadic and uneven.”

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

The most reliable species, Ginkgo biloba and Liquidambar, “have yet to reach full color.”

Color spotter Son H. Nguyen posted the following montage on Facebook and commented, “Liquidambar is amazing in Orange County right now. I’ve never seen them this beautiful before. I’ve only seen them mostly turn yellow. But this year, there are many different hue from orange, yellow, red, deep red and even pink.”

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Though, McDonough cautions that Liquidambars “have been under attack” from a combination of a  new pest, the Polyphagous shot hole borer, and a new disease to Southern California, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, “that may eliminate them from the Southern California landscape.”

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar have one of the more dramatic displays of flame orange, yellow and red and are a favorite of landscapers.  Sadly, due to pests and diseases, Frank opins that “this may be one of the last years to see them turn color, here.”  Until that happens, head to Southern California’s arboretums for the best in So. Cal.

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens – Crepe myrtle are at peak; tulip tree are 30 – 50% of peak near the tram stop; Japanese birch are magnificent near the turtle pond; California wild grape near the tule pond are now yellow and will soon be brilliant red.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County – Exotic Sweet Gum (liquidambar) are at peak in gardens and along streets throughout Los Angeles County.  Pests and disease are afflicting the trees, however, which may not survive another year.  So, go now to enjoy their display of varied color.

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A Late Yet Great Start in LA County

Eastern Redbud, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (10/22/13) Frank MdDonough

Eastern Redbud, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (10/22/13) Frank MdDonough

We were comparing notes with Frank McDonough of the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Garden this past week who suggests that a cooler than usual summer may be contributing to a late start for fall color in LA County’s urban forests, as plants were confused by cooling, then warming weather.  Frank says science is still imprecise as to the triggering mechanisms for fall color, with light, temperature and water influencing change.  He opined that the same environmental conditions that contributed to a late show at the arboretum’s elevation, may have also contributed to an earlier one in the High Sierra’s climate zone.  For us color watchers, however, it adds variety and interest.

 

Grape vine and Freeman's maples, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

Grape vine and Freeman’s maples, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

 

Eastern redbud, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

Eastern redbud, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

 

Shagbark hickory, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

Shagbark hickory, LA County Arboretum (10/22/13) Frank McDonough

30 – 50% – LA County Arboretum and Garden – Expect spots of brilliant color to continue to show through November and into early December.  Seen in these photos, the LA County Arboretum is exhibiting color change among varied exotic species, such as: Shagbark Hickory (carya ovata) putting on a rosey show, Eastern Redbud (cercis canadensis) full or orange in the arboretum’s Kallam Garden and Grape Vine and Freeman’s maples showing hot red near the Herb Garden.

 

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LA County Arboretum Begins to Warm Up

Freeman's maple, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough

Freeman’s maple, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough

Chinese pistache, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough

Chinese pistache, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough

Color spotter Frank McDonough always sends great shots of what’s turning at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.  While it appears the San Bernardino Mountains are at peak or a little bit past peak (We welcome reports from So. Cal.), the LA County Arboretum is warming up.  These shots tell it all:

15 – 30% – LA County Arboretum – Always a sure bet for long-lasting fall color, the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia has begun to warm up.  Trees that show early, such as exotic Chinese pistache are now turning.  A tupelo tree provides a botanical frame to a bench in the arboretum and a Freeman’s apple is on fire at its crest.

Tupelo tree, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough

Tupelo tree, LA County Arboretum (10/17/13) Frank McDonough