According to the calendar it is officially Autumn, though this year’s continuing heat shows Mother Nature is not willing to leave Summer just quite yet. From the Wallis Arboretum’s beginning in the 1850s, trees were selected for their uniqueness and their year-round beauty, so as we progress into true autumn, there will be a continuation of color throughout.
Maples, harbingers of autumn, normally are the first to show their true colors in the fall. The Arboretum maples include Black, Paperbark, Red, and Sugar; and Japanese maple “Bloodgood” and “Burgundy Lace”. The new foliage of the last is a deep red that changes color during the year and returns to deep red-purple in the fall.
Among the unique are gingkos, whose leaf imprints have been found in fossils that are 270 million years old. The lemon-yellow leaves hang on until all have turned and then drop within two to three days, leaving a bare tree surrounded by a yellow skirt on the ground.
Redbud displays a darker yellow, with the exception of “Forest Pansy” and “Oklahoma” whose leaves are deep purple.
Washington Hawthorn turns orange, scarlet, and purple each fall. Along with the Serviceberry, which has red to orange foliage, these two native trees produces purple-black edible berries and retains through the winter for the birds to eat.
The oaks, whose botanical name “Quercus’ means ‘beautiful tree’, are among the last to change color. The Pin Oak and the Northern Red Oak change to scarlet and ruby-red.
This is not a complete list of the Arboretum’s fall color collection of trees. Visit the Arboretum often to see the daily change of fall color. Visit on your own or for a group tour of the Arboretum: call 859-987-6158 and leave a message.