Fall Foliage

white oak white oak ginko ginko maple-leaved viburnum maple-leaved viburnum sweet gum sweet gum

Fall foliage is nature’s last hurrah, at least for colorful landscapes . Sugar maple is the iconic foliage tree because of it’s bright red/orange/yellow display. Leaf peepers often try to figure out when the “peak foliage” will be. But there are actually two peaks. The first wave includes the maples, dogwoods, birch and hickory. But just as these are starting to fade, the second wave appears. It isn’t usually as brilliant, but a good show nonetheless. This second peak is dominated by oak, larch, willow, beech, and locust.

Of course the “peak” starts in the north and higher elevations. Then it moves slowly southward, down the valleys and onto the plains as the weeks go by. You can find out when each peak will pass your location by going to the plant lists in the book.

If you want to extend the season, travel north to catch the wave early. Then watch it pass your home territory. When that fades, travel south to get an encore. This same principle works in the spring as well. Go south to see it starting. Watch at home. Then travel north to catch things you missed, or just to extend the pleasure of spring’s colorful awakening.

Field Guide to the Seasons tells you what plants and animals are doing throughout the year. To find out how, go to the Book tab on the home page.