Tag Archives: Autumn colors

Autumn Lemon Yellow

For the past couple of weeks I’ve stood in the milk room door watching the far hill summer green turn to yellow green. Now the hickories are lemon yellow.

A number of trees turn yellow in the fall. Pawpaws are one. Some maples do. Only hickories turn a glowing lemon yellow.

lemon yellow leaves make hickory trees stand out
Hickories are one of the first trees to don fall colors. Their bright lemon yellow makes them easy to spot in the woods or on the pasture edges.

The hills around us are mostly a mix of oak and hickory trees. A few persimmon, black walnut, hackberry, slippery elm and Ohio buckeye are scattered mostly at the edges of the pastures. Dogwood and redbud are tucked into the spaces under the taller trees.

The dogwoods turn a reddish purple and have been working on it for a couple of weeks. Persimmons turn yellow, but have so many black spots on their leaves the yellow seems an afterthought. Black walnuts turn yellow, but drop their leaves early. Yellow hackberry leaves are nearly transparent.

dogwood tree in fall colors
Most wild dogwood trees are tucked into the woods. This one grew up on a hill cleared for pasture and became a lovely tree no matter what the season.

Oaks are an odd bunch. In moist years their leaves turn a dusty red. In drier years they turn brown. As last year many of the chinkapin oaks have an interesting circular fungus growing on them.

Circular fungus on chinkapin oak leaves
This lovely fungus pattern shows up on chinkapin oak leaves in late September into October. Damp leaves and good lighting makes the fungus colors vibrant.

Perhaps this dull background makes the lemon yellow of the hickories even more noticeable. It is still a glowing yellow even through rain.

I’ve only found the maples in town to rival the hickory fall glow. Maples are a popular tree in town. The silver maples do turn yellow, but it is a dim second to the glow of a hickory tree.

Other maples turn red. Usually this is a dull red getting its impact from the volume of leaves.

fall salmon maple glows like lemon yellow hickory
Only a few fall colors seem to glow. The salmon colored maples are one of them.

The rival maples turn a glowing salmon pink. There aren’t many of these on my usual routes around town, but I look forward to spotting their towers of color.

Beautiful as the lemon yellow is against the hills, it is transitory. A hard rain with strong wind carpets the ground with the colors which quickly fade to brown leaving the bare, dark gray branches standing through the winter waiting for spring.

Perhaps you’ve only looked at dogwoods in the spring. Check them out in “Exploring the Ozark Hills“.

Fleeting Fall Colors

Fleeting fall colors seem to be the new normal here. When I chose the pictures for “My Ozark Home”, I went back through ten to fifteen years of pictures for all of the seasons and fall has changed.

When we moved here, a cold spell moved in around Labor Day. It rarely brought more than a touch of frost, but the cold nights triggered the leaves. Day by day the yellows and oranges overtook the greens on the hills.

fleeting fall colors not so past years
This is one of the pictures used in “My Ozark Home” from a time when the hills turned color and held it for a week or more. This same hill this year didn’t turn until killing frost when many of the leaves fell leaving the trees half bare even as color began to peak.

By the time the temperatures warmed up for the rest of September, the hills were a riot of color. The fields were still emerald green which set off the colors. Clear blue skies and sunshine did the rest.

I’m not a big fan of fall as it means winter is coming soon. But those glowing colors were spectacular.

The weather changed. It has changed a lot in the five or six years.

That early September cold spell waits until late in the month. The trees stay green. Then frost hits and the wind roars through.

fleeting fall colors missed the oaks
Some years the oaks would turn a dusky red. Now they turn brown. Many of the leaves are covered by black spots from fungus. This particular kind of oak and I need to look it up had some leaves with this interesting rose pattern on them. No other kind of oak seemed to have this pattern and only a few leaves had it.

This year the temperatures stayed in the seventies and eighties until a cold spell brought killing frost. Suddenly the trees were dropping their leaves, still green. Those leaves left on the trees tried to turn color.

Wind and a second real killing frost stripped half the leaves off the trees. Fleeting fall colors are trying to hang on and mask the bare branches on the hills. Most of the leaves turned brown from the frost and fell mixed with still green leaves.

Nubian goats in woods
My Nubian goats shuffle through the woods noses searching for acorns. A tasty leaf is also eaten. The herd works its way across a long hill, crosses the ravine to start up the next hill and a third one until they finally go down in the pasture for dessert and to wait until I open the gate so they can loaf in the barn waiting for dinner.

The goats are gorging on the leaves and acorns. They pick out the succulent green leaves and turn their noses up at the brown ones. Even so, the pastures are still green and growing and better eating than the leaves.

Much as I hate the approach of winter weather, I miss those spectacular color displays. Fleeting fall colors can’t mask or distract from the end of warm weather.

Visit the seasons in “My Ozark Home“.