It’s time for that amazing annual event known as fall color. You probably have spotted a few rogue trees and bushes ablaze in yellow, orange, or red already. The color popping foliage will advance rapidly over the next few weeks.
The latest fall color report from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism indicates Lac du Flambeau could be one of the top spots to visit this weekend with 50 to 74% of peak color reported. Numerous spots in the north half of the state are reporting 24 to 49% of peak color including Price County, Minocqua, Eagle River, Antigo, Medford, Marshfield, and Wisconsin Rapids. Also Richland County is southwest Wisconsin is in that range as well.
Spooner is reported to be about 2 weeks from peak color. Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee are all reporting from 0 to 24% color with peak expected by mid-October or so. You can read the entire Wisconsin fall color report including upcoming special events, attractions, and the in various fall color hot spots around the state. Just go to the following link. http://www.travelwisconsin.com/fallcolor_report.aspx#/Report.
WHY DO LEAVES TURN COLORS IN THE FALL?
The simple answer is that leaves stop producing chlorophyll as sunlight and temperature decreases in the fall. As the green chlorophyll pigment fades away, the other colored pigments which have been in the leaves all along show up. It’s actually a complicated and cool process. The USDA Forest Service has put together a fine, detailed explanation of the chemicals and science involved. Check it out here.
INTERESTING TREE RELATED SPOT
Speaking of things you may want to check out sometime, how about the Grove of Great American Trees in Washington D.C.? I just learned about this for the first time this week. Apparently some government officials thought it was important to have a place set aside to honor and dedicate to the official various state trees of the country. There is much history and often times economic, cultural, and environmental significance attached to the state trees. So a 30 acre tract of land in the D.C. area was planted in 1989 with groves of state trees. For example, for the Wisconsin grove, you would find sugar maples. The planted grovers are mingled with some native large trees which were on the land already. They help to provide shade for some of the state trees that need it to thrive.
Each state’s grove is labeled with interesting and educational information posted nearby. There are a handful of states such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida that don’t have their official state tree growing at this park, but rather have substitutes. I’m assuming the climate of Washington D.C. isn’t suitable for their particular species. Well, since I’m a tree buff, I hope to see this Grove of Great American Trees someday.
Well, the sunshine will be returning a bit this weekend and for sure next week. So I hope you have a chance to get outside and soak up the emerging fall colors a good bit!
This post was written by Tony Schumacher on September 21, 2011