Fall Color Settling In Slowly

It’s been a warm fall. The days have been a bit warmer than normal. More important, the nights have not been nearly as cold, generally about 10 to 20 degrees (F) warmer than average.

Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance'
Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’

Weather is only one factor affecting fall color, I believe the shortening days are a bigger one. But I’ve got to think that this warm fall is one reason why it seems that more leaves are staying green late into the season.

So here it is the first weekend of November, and we are finally getting a decent amount of foliage color in our garden. Even so, some of the fall color stars still seem to be behind schedule.

Serviceberry autumn brilliance
Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’

As usual, Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Amelanchier x grandiflora) is a seasonal star. The  little oval leaves seem to glow like red and orange jewels. I have six of these shrubs and sometimes I think I would fill the whole back garden with them if allowed.

Spicebush fall color
Spicebush fall color

The Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) leaves are falling, but are first turning a nice golden yellow. Spicebush blooms in early spring with tiny yellow flowers. The number of buds I can see now indicates a good display next April.

Summersweet fall color
Summersweet fall color

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) and Wild Black Currant (Ribes americanum) also have nice yellow autumn foliage. Wild Black Currant is one of my favorite native small shrubs.

Silver Maple
Silver Maple

In the middle of our back garden is a big old Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum). This tree’s greedy roots can be a real pain. However, it gives a pleasant dappled shade and the fall leaves are attractive.

Flowering Dogwood
My Flowering Dogwood, which I still consider to be a toddler

Among the plants that seem behind schedule for fall color are my new Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), just now finishing its second season in the back garden.

Cranberrybush Viburnum, Viburnum trilobum
Cranberrybush Viburnum fall color

Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) is also tardy. This shrub normally has deep red and maroon leaves in fall. It is just now starting to show color. I also have Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium), and it is not showing any color at all (except for green).

How has your autumn color been coming along this year?

50 Comments on “Fall Color Settling In Slowly”

  1. Oh, I hate silver maples! Even though they are native to my state, I consider them one of the worst trees ever – surface roots, helicopter seeds, branches that snap off in high winds. My neighbor across the street replaced some of his with a hybrid maple of some sort, which this year is a beautiful orange-y color. This hybrid does not have those creeping roots, and I think it does not produce helicopter seeds, but hopefully will grow fast.

    Your colors are a bit behind mine, which are also late for this area. The foliage around here is usually not much to look at, but this year it is absolutely stunning, especially all the red, red, RED burning bushes.

  2. I am oohing and aahing at your serviceberries…I have one that is in the toddler stage and I think I planted it in too much shade. It doesn’t seem to do much of anything. Yours are beautiful! The leaves are peaking here and have been stunning this year. We actually had enough rain to keep the leaves on the trees into fall, instead of falling from drought.

  3. Your garden color is looking pretty! Yes, fall color has been slow to come this year. This weekend just past we finally saw some brilliant color in western Maryland – ahhh, the reds and the yellows! I’ll have to consider getting a serviceberry – yours is such lovely soft ‘rusty peach’ color.

  4. Each autumn is different, for whatever the reasons that only the plants know. I love the clear yellow of spicebush — mine have all dropped now but they were pretty. And clethra surprised me that it can be a nice yellow too (I have the clethra and spicebush together in the same bed.) Your dogwood will one day be lovely in fall. Flowering dogwood takes a while, but when it is big and it gets fall color, the deep red is fantastic. Happy autumn!

  5. Aha! I kept seeing these beautiful small trees in town this weekend…and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what they were…but seeing your photos, I know they were definitely Serviceberry! They are gorgeous plants…so lovely! Our Autumn color has been unusually intense this year…we had a dry and cool October and that made such a difference…but I agree…there are so many factors that seem to determine fall color…even the amount the plants were stressed during summer plays a role…it’s always exciting to see just what each Autumn holds 🙂

  6. It is an odd year, our dogwood is bare, yet the silver maple is just turning colors now. You do still have a lot of green around.
    We had a lame fall. Many plants lost leaves early due to drought and then only half heartedly colored up when the cool nights came. I guess it makes you appreciate the good years more.

  7. You still have so much color in your garden! My serviceberry’s leaves all turn yellow. Actually, after this past weekend’s storm, they have all blown away. There are a few maples in parking lots still holding onto their very colorful leaves, but most of the rest are gone, gone, gone.

  8. We had brilliant color for a few days, and now the leaves are dropping fast! Unfortunately, several of the days with brilliant color were cloudy and rainy, so we didn’t get the full effect. The Oaks are all on different schedules, of course, but this autumn seems more drawn out than others and not quite as colorful. I haven’t checked the Cranberrybush Viburnum–thanks for reminding me!

  9. You have some majestic trees in your garden. May I ask how big is your garden? And a warm fall in Chicago? What’s happening? Here in northern NJ, we have been having freezing or almost like that temperature since middle of October and earlier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: