Somehow, it’s almost the end of October. Yesterday Judy and I decided to walk through the neighborhood to inspect the state of fall foliage. Color continues to settle in, though tardily and somewhat unevenly.


This Maple turned in the last few days, even as its neighbor of the same genus stays green. We have lots of Maples in the neighborhood, maybe too many. For the most part, I am pretty hopeless at distinguishing the species.


Our town once had many stately old American Elms. Here we are looking up at one of the few survivors.


Along a towhnhouse development there are several ‘Autumn Blaze’ Maples (Acer x freemanii). They haven’t reached peak color yet, but they look pretty good.


One of those Maples had an alarming-looking scar, which might explain some of the bare branches up top. We were wondering how this wound might have been inflicted.


We were also baffled by this tree, with its mostly opposite, mostly heart-shaped leaves.


Here’s the view looking south down a street that runs perpendicular to our own. Actually, that’s our house at the far end.


Another NOID Maple.


The unevenness of fall color was put on display by the Ginkgo (Gingko biloba) trees on a street south of us. Some, like the one above, are a gleaming yellow. Others standing nearby are still completely green.


The falling leaves made a colorful carpet underfoot.


I really hate Sweetgum trees (Liqudambar styraciflua), but they do have nice fall color. But those damn spiky gumballs are a menace, especially to those who walk in the garden barefoot. My parents had one near their house.


Back at the home place, the ‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) are turning red, orange, and yellow.


And the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has turned a decent yellow.


The red at the tips of the ‘Sheandoah’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) looks like growing swords.


Sorry, I had to include another picture of the River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).


And with all the leaves gone, the crabapples on ‘Donald Wyman’ make quite an impact!


39 Comments on “Fall Foliage Update”

  1. Wow, love those crabapples. I can’t wait until my little tree is filled with fruit. Your neighborhood seems to have lots.of color. We are now getting some color but like your area it seems more sporadic than usual.

  2. Glad you’re seeing lots of beautiful fall colors!
    The tree with the small, opposite heart shaped leaves looks like a Katsura (Cercidiphyllum) which is an Asian tree used as an ornamental here. It’s claim to fame is its autumn foliage fragrance, which smells like burnt sugar or pies baking on a warm fall day. The leaves also unfurl reddish purple in the spring.

    • Thank you for the ID, that seems right! And it was really going to bug me! And, icing on the cake, the fact that it’s Japanese, ie, not a common American tree, makes me feel better that I was so clueless. I learned most of my tree IDing skills in New England and Ohio decades ago – perhaps this tree was not used there at the time, I don’t think I’ve seen one before.

      • You’re welcome, I’m glad I could help. If that tree is nearby you might want to revisit it as the leaves start to turn yellow. The caramel / baking pie fragrance is really amazing.
        They aren’t a common tree. I only know of three or four in this area, but they’re a nice looking, rather mid sized tree that would be good for a sunny, small garden.

  3. What a palette! There aren’t many colors left out, are there? I love the way the sun shines through the Switchgrass and the River Oats and the focus on the relatively small. But I also love the long look down the street — it looks so homey I swear I can smell apple pie!

  4. What gorgeous fall colors. I’ve been having a problem with my serviceberry for the past two years. It has already shed its leaves.
    Hate to mention this, but at a meeting this morning “laurel wilt” was mentioned. In western Kentucky it is affecting sassafras trees; also spice bush. We haven’t yet seen its devastation in central Kentucky, but it’s surely on its way.
    So, back to enjoying the fall colors!

  5. It’s been quite interesting this year seeing blogs around the country as well as Instagram posts and comparing tree color with here. Thanks for identifying the Liquidambar tree for me. There are a bunch of those near one of our favorite restaurants, and I thought at first they might be maples, until I looked closer and saw the spiky fruit and knew no maple had that. Pretty sure from your description and photo that they must be Liquidambar. A lot of people around the country have colorful witch hazel already, but mine are still green.

  6. Chicago & surroundings seem to be having a pretty gorgeous fall. How old is your spicebush? It looks happy and well sited, where you won’t miss those early blooms.

    Honestly not sure I’ve ever seen a crabapple so loaded with fruit. Wow.

  7. Looks like you got some IDs on the mystery tree. All the foliage on all the plants is stunning! We are past peak here, but the Maples were really pretty until recently. The Oaks seemed like they were green forever, and then they just turned brown and started losing their leaves. Weird year all around. But you captured some gorgeous color!

  8. You have some really beautiful street trees with amazing colour. Our leaves have just started to change colour, another week and they should be perfect! Our village native trees are oaks and they have started turning but they don’t go the beautiful orange color of all the beech trees in the next village which is over the hill in the next valley, they are looking stunning already.

  9. Fall foliage color, it just never gets old. We’ve all taken, seen, experienced those photos and the real events inspired, but the beauty is eternal. Lovely, lovely shots! Our “fall” doesn’t happen yet for a while and occurs over a rather long period, and so is less dramatic.

  10. I’m with Tina. Fall foliage color never gets old. And what a lovely tree-lined street you live on. Somehow, trees are beautiful whatever the season, from bare limbs against a blue sky in the winter to the magnificent blaze of color in the fall. Your street has it all.

  11. Wow what a show! Even with the green ones still. In fact, I think this adds to the beauty. I love the look of that tree you couldn’t place and I’m glad someone was able to identify it. I belong to a native plants group on Facebook and they can get quite irate with non-natives, but I’ve never thought it diminished their appeal. This one is lovely.

  12. Lovely to see all your striking autumn colours…all in one street! We do have Liquidamber trees, and they were foolishly planted in the playground of a school where I was teaching. Those fuzzy balls were a real problem with the younger students throwing them at each other.
    I love the sound of the trees that have a fragrance of burnt sugar and baking kind of tree!

  13. You two live on a beautiful street! I love all the mature trees lining it. I’ve noticed the same unevenness in fall coloration – sometimes on the same tree. It’s so strange – you’d think everything about it would be evenly distributed (as in daylight, temperature, etc., but when you see those wild variations, you just have to wonder what’s causing it…. hmm…

  14. Could that unidentified tree with the opposite leaves be Katsura, Cercidiphyllum? I do not know what that tree looks like because it is not grown here. Nor do I know its species or cultivars.
    I can not identify the maples either, not only because I can not see the details in the pictures, but because you have a few more maples there that I have never seen. They look like sugar and Norway maples to me, but I really do not know. I have never seen a big red maple here. All the red maples that I know of were planted since about 1990.
    The damage on the trunk seems to be sunscald. If it had been hit by a car or some such thing, you would likely have noticed a gouge in the wood. Maples of all sorts are very sensitive to sunscald before their canopies get wide enough to shade them where they are exposed. (Those in forested situation are reasonably protected.) That is why their trunks used to be painted white a long time ago. If it is sunscald, it would be on the south side of the trunk. It is more common among street trees because they must be pruned up high for clearance, and because pavement enhances glare.

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