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It Blew Right Past

“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.

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LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

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

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Shasta Cascade Rapidly Approaching Past Peak

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.

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Yes and No

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.

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Weather Arrives, Will Color Survive?

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.

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Color Drops Below a Mile in the San Jacintos

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.

 


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Nevada City – Still Discovering Gold

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.

SF Chronicle Busting the Myth of No Fall Color

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.

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

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.

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The Fire Keeps Burning in the Shasta Cascade

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.