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December 19, 2015
I think this has been the most beautiful late fall for the trees. The Bradford pear,
sweet gums and crepe myrtles have been great this year. Why do you think this was
a better year than we saw the past few?
I agree that for the trees that did not shed their leaves early, it has been a spectacular
fall. In addition to the trees you mentioned, the Japanese maples, gingko, and red
maples were stunning, and some still are. We have had ideal conditions for leaf color
with cool nights and warm days. The rains in October saved us after the dry September.
We also have had several light frosts, but the majority of central and southern Arkansas
has still not seen a hard killing frost, so the leaves are still on the trees. If
you think back to the past two falls, we had extremely early hard freezes, which occurred
before fall color had fully set in, and before the abscission layers formed on the
leaves. Many crape myrtles and Japanese maples retained foliage all winter and had
winter damage because of this early frost.
My co-workers and I have a bet, and you get to decide. Will we or will we not have
any fall color this year? Some of us say the summer was so bad that leaves will just
turn brown, while others say they have trees in their yard that already are beginning
to turn. What say you?
In some respects, you are both right. Trees that were not well maintained, may have
died or dropped all their leaves already — and they will not have a great fall show.
However, those trees with a full set of leaves are beginning to color up and our current
weather conditions are ideal — warm, sunny days and cool nights, coupled with a bit
of moisture. I think we will probably have a nice show of fall color, mixed with dead
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