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Late Autumn Storms Pave Silicon Valley With Gold

Gingko biloba, Mountain View (12/5/19) Vishal Mishra

As if the Silicon Valley wasn’t already paved with gold, late autumn is truly paving its streets with golden gingko leaves.

Silicon Valley color spotter Vishal Mishra sends these images of Gingko biloba littering the streets of Mountain View with gold.

  • Mountain View – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
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Leafless Tree Identification

Gingko biloba, San Francisco (12/6/19) Friends of the Urban Forest

San Francisco’s Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) are “hedging bets,” this Sunday (love the pun), by leading a free walking tour of fall color remaining in San Francisco’s Mission District, regardless of predicted stormy weather.

Ben Carlson of FUF says the walk hopes to “catch the tail end of our fall colors, but on the other hand we’ll be talking about how to identify many of San Francisco’s most common deciduous species once they’ve lost their leaves altogether (looking for clues in twigs, bark, overall shape etc.).”

That’s a fascinating idea … a Leafless Tree Identification Tour. For me, it’s hard enough discerning one tree from another using their photographs, but take away the leaves? These FUF guys are good.

To participate, meet on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. at 735 Dolores St. for the walk or CLICK HERE for more information.

Now, should you miss the walk, consider picking up a Green Christmas Tree from FUF. A $95 donation gets you a recyclable live tree to decorate. After the holidays, return the tree and it will be planted somewhere in San Francisco.

Ester goes home for the holidays, San Francisco (12/3/19) Friends of the Urban Forest

What’s pure fun about this program is that each tree has been given a name, not a number. In the above example, “Ester” (a fern pine, Afrocarpus gracilior) will be spending the holidays with her benefactor, then return to FUF to grace The City’s streets, thereafter.

For more about how to participate in this program and help green-up San Francisco’s urban forest, CLICK HERE.

  • Presidio, San Francisco – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT. And while you’re there, donate and borrow a living Christmas Tree to improve San Francisco’s urban forest.
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Bay Area Gets Vibrant

Autumn in the San Francisco Bay Area is often best during Thanksgiving Week. Color spotter Vishal Mishra found Los Altos and Palo Alto true to form and glowing yesterday.

Landmark elm, flowering pear and Chinese pistache are still heavy with leaves, though dropping them in a steady fall.

  • San Francisco Bay Area – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Cupertino Gold

Cupertino has been producing high tech gold for decades. Now Gingko biloba are littering the home of Apple Corporation with fallen gold.

Deepa Yuvaraj writes she’s been sharing pictures of Silicon Valley fall color with friends for years, though just discovered CaliforniaFallColor.com, perhaps because of The Merc’s review (previous post).

Perhaps someone who works at Apple would take pictures with an iPhone of fall color inside the Apple Park campus ring. It would sure be fun to post them.

  • Cupertino (72′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Visions of Sweet Gums

At a time when visions of sugar plums dance in childrens’ heads, Anson Davalos sends visions of Sweetgums, Flowering pear and Chinese pistache from Silicon Valley.

  • Los Gatos – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Santa Clara – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Tech Boom

Gingko biloba, Mountain View (11/17/19) Vishal Mishra

Palo Alto and Mountain View on the San Francisco Peninsula are experiencing another boom … the fall color kind.

Landmark gingko biloba and Liquidambar are carpeting Mountain View neighborhoods with yellow and pink leaves and Palo Alto is aglow at dusk with orange.

  • San Francisco Peninsula (30′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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In The Middle of it All

Grasses, Camp Reynolds, Angel Island SP (9//19) Gillian Espinosa

Angel Island is in the middle of it all.

The largest island in San Francisco Bay, Angel island isn’t thought of as having much fall color, though it is loaded with native plants, many of which are winter deciduous.

Frémont cottonwood, western sycamore, black and blue elderberry, bigleaf maple, box elder, valley oak, red and white alder, creek dogwood, Garry’s oak, bitter cherry, western chokecherry, Oregon ash, and several type of willow grow on the island. Though, grasslands are what give Angel Island its autumn glow.

For time immemorial, the island’s north and east-facing slopes were covered with oak woodland, while native grasses and north coast scrub were predominant on west and south-facing slopes. Indian use of fire, California State Parks explains, extended the island’s grassland environment, restricting forest and brush to the northeast side of the island.

Then, in the 19th century Angel Island’s flora changed when native grasses (mostly perennials) were overwhelmed by aggressive European grasses whose seeds were brought in with hay. Then, most of the first-growth oak woodland was cut down for firewood.

Today, the native trees and shrubs have recovered, though they compete with exotics brought in by 19th century settlers and the military (Angel Island was an important part of the U.S. Army’s coastal defense installations and served as the Ellis Island of the West).

Most visitors to Angel Island marvel at its impressive views of the Golden Gate, San Francisco Skyline and Marin County, though turn around and you’ll see the island itself is a colorful treasure in the middle of it all.

  • Angel Island, San Francisco Bay (0′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
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Always on Time

Dixiana, 1912 Shay Locomotive, Roaring Camp RR, Felton (11/9/19) Melani Clark

A good railroad always arrives and departs on time.

The same can be said of fall color at the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in Felton (Santa Cruz Mountains), where bigleaf maple, western sycamore and black oak dress its historical train depot with yellow, chartreuse, lime and orange each November.

This past Saturday, Melani Clark, superintendent of the railroad, took this image of steam rising and autumn color falling as the Dixiana stood ready for its run through the redwoods to Bear Mountain.

Autumn weather has been kind to the Santa Cruz mountains where warm, clear days have created ideal conditions to enjoy a walk through a redwood forest and train rides to the summit of Bear Mountain and down to Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay.

  • Roaring Camp Railroads (285′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Danville Delights

Osage Station Park, Danville (11/11/19) Vishal Mishra

Osage Station Park in Danville was so named for the Osage orange orchard that was once tended, there.

Three of the original planted osage oranges (hedge apples) still grow in the park. Their odd, knobby, spider-repelling fruit turn fluorescent green in fall.

Though, it is the park’s grove of towering maple trees and their golden canopy that truly delights autumn visitors, as depicted by Vishal Mishra above.

  • Osage Station Park, Danville (358′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Danville’s Urban Forest

Downtown Danville (11/9/19) Ryan Boyd

Danville loves its trees. The East Bay town’s symbol is its 350-year-old Danville Oak.

Each year in November, the Town gathers on Diablo Road at the base of the tree to celebrate the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The ceremony is a festive evening that includes a visit from Father Christmas and the Snow Angel escorted by local high school bands.

Through the years, the Danville oak has provided support for signs announcing a special birthday or anniversary for a Town citizen.

The Danville Oak isn’t the only tree celebrated. The entire village of Danville is forested with landmark trees that for the next two weeks – as Ryan Boyd’s photos show – will provide peak color.

Danville’s annual tree lighting ceremony occurs on Friday, Nov. 29.

  • Danville (358′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!