Autumn in the Lakes Region means the arrival of foliage colors. Trees burst into colors that rival any of the flowers and ornamental plants we enjoy through spring and summer, giving us yet another beautiful season. A good landscape design is aware of all seasons and best provides these bursts of beauty throughout the year. Quality landscape and tree care help assure the colors you’ll see will be vibrant and longer-lasting. This begins at understanding what is happening on your property in the fall, and what you can do to get the most out of the season.
As always, we’re here to help.
Did you know the leaves on your trees aren’t turning color but rather becoming less green? The chemicals which cause the yellow and some orange pigmentations of leaves are present during the spring and summer seasons but are masked by the green color produced by the chemical chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps trees absorb energy from the sun, making food for the tree. As daylight hours decrease and the evenings are cooler, chlorophyll production lessens and eventually stop. The result of less chlorophyll causes the green to recede and allow the other colors to shine through.
Red leaves begin to occur from the same environmental factors, but for a different reason. Red pigments develop from a chemical called anthocyanins, which is created from leftover sugars in the leaves. These pigments mix with varying amounts of remaining chlorophyll and produce shades from deep regs and violets to bright reds and some oranges.
So, why does any of this matter? Well, here are a few things to understand if you want to have a beautiful property in the autumn.
If you want vibrant colors, you need healthy trees. Healthy trees will produce colors of more incredible vibrancy for longer, and healthy trees need chlorophyll.
If you see dull, yellow, or orange leaves in the spring or summer, something is causing a barrier to chlorophyll production. This is call chlorosis and needs to be addressed. The discoloration is commonly the result of physical damage, poor soil conditions, disease, pests, or lack of water. A qualified arborist can diagnose the problem and make recommendations to help mitigate the problem. A quality tree care firm will have the tools and resources to take action on those recommendations.
We find most of our clients have foliage colors they enjoy the most, and we find most of our clients also want a variation of colors. While there are variables that can cause autumn leave colors to differ from year to year, knowing and understanding what trees commonly produce what autumn colors can help plan for the best outcomes. For example, Red Maples live up to their name by typically having deep red coloration in the fall. Sugar Maples commonly produce orange leaves. Most Birch trees produce yellow leaves.
When considering another color, it’s short-sighted to dismiss evergreen trees. While autumn is a time to enjoy the season’s vibrant colors, evergreens bring color, texture, and consistency, which help these colors shine. Blue spruce, for example, looks fantastic in its silver/blue/green glory alongside the yellows, oranges, and reds of fall.
A quality landscape design will take into consideration the appearance of plant material through all seasons. The goal of a good design is to provide long-lasting beauty using planning and expertise regardless of the season.
Other Color Options.
The introduction of fall color doesn’t need to be limited to what you have currently on your property. Many fall color options can be purchased at a local retailer or installed by your landscaper quickly and easily.
In the Lakes Region, it’s hard to miss the colorful chrysanthemums, gourds, and cornstalks used to celebrate autumn with even more color. Chrysanthemums, in particular, come in nearly any color and are durable and attractive. Ornamental kale or peppers are staples in planters and beds during this season as well. Like all plants, proper care, including watering, deadheading, and more, will help assure viability and exceptional blooming.