Enjoying Autumn: Will It Be Beautiful This Year?
Autumn is indeed a beautiful season. We all can remember seeing blazing reds, yellows, and oranges some years and mostly browns and dirty yellows other years. There are many factors involved in the process of leaves changing colors in the fall. The timing of Autumn color change is largely controlled by lengthening nights.
In the fall as some of the nights tend to become a little cooler and the average hours of daylight starts to decrease, the green pigment begins to drain out of the leaves. This green pigment, called chlorophyll, is present in all green plants and is responsible for the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis. The purpose of photosynthesis is to capture and store energy. The food for trees is produced through a complex system starting with the leaves. Leaves produce sugar (which is food for the tree) as a result of photosynthesis which combines carbon dioxide and sunlight. During winter, there is not enough light or water to provide for photosynthesis, so as autumn progresses the tree “knows” to begin getting ready for winter. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer.
As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll. The beautiful reds appear when a number of warm, sunny days and cool but not freezing nights come one after the other. In the daytime, the leaves can produce lots of sugar, but the cool night temperatures prevent the sugar sap from flowing through the leaf veins and down into the branches and trunk. Some trees, especially Maples, turn a beautiful brilliant red because more sugars have been trapped in the leaves.
Too much rain, a drought, a warm and wet spell or a severe frost can hinder the
brightness or intensity of autumn colors. It’s time to anticipate a gorgeous autumn when all the right things have happened which are a warm, wet spring followed by a summer that’s not too hot or dry, and a fall with plenty of warm sunny days and cool nights.
Master Gardener Tip:
If good horticultural practices are used, trees can be planted any time of the year. Container-grown trees suffer minimal root disturbance during transplanting. If they are carefully watered after planting, trees can be successfully planted even in midsummer.
Bare root trees are generally not available for planting except in their dormant condition, during late winter and early spring. However, research at the University of Missouri has shown that bare root trees can survive summer planting in certain conditions. Bare root trees with up to 2 inches of stem caliper can be planted with excellent survival during the midsummer if preconditioned in a bed of irrigated pea gravel (called the Missouri Gravel Bed) for 10 to 12 weeks. If harvested and stored properly, B&B (balled and burlapped) trees can also be planted at any time of the year.
However, since conditions during midsummer are often stressful to plants, most nursery professionals recommend planting in spring or fall.
A visit to your local nursery in the fall will enable you to see what Autumn colors the tree will likely display when it is mature.
Hello Garlic Growers!
Thank you so much for attending our Learn to Grow in the Garden: “Growing Garlic” class presented to you by the Master Gardeners of Greene County and taught by Bob Kipfer, Master Naturalist. Bob taught us so much about everything garlic and has even more garlic information he would like to share with you.
Again, thank you for coming out to “Learn to Grow in the Garden.” You will be notified of upcoming classes.
We have formed a group (listserve) on Yahoo called MGGC-GardenBytes. A listserve is an electronic mailing list of people who wish to receive and communicate with each other because they share a common interest. The way the listserve works is anyone can send an email message to the “reflector” email address, and the software sends the email to all of the group’s subscribers.
To join MGGCGardenBytes and start communicating with your fellow gardeners, simply click on the box above and follow the instructions on the Yahoo Groups page. You must be registered on Yahoo to be eligible to join the group. As a moderated listserve, MGGC-GardenBytes ensures that you will not be spammed, exposed to viruses, or solicited as a member of this group.
“There is definitely a difference between using treated water for irrigating/watering plants versus having Mother Nature do it via rainfall,” says Todd Lassiegne, President and CEO of the Tulsa Botanic Garden.
Although it’s a “very, very small amount,” over time the natural water adds a “fertilization effect,” he says.