My neighborhood is like countless others all across this country. Rows of homes bisected by a road. It is an older neighborhood, dating back to the 1930’s. The size of the right of way trees speak to that age. The right of way? The ROW is that strip of land between the sidewalk and the street. In my neighborhood, the right of way is planted with trees and grass. Yes, you do see a dead tree dead ahead. Large growing shade trees, or street trees, take poorly to having their roots confined between parallel ribbons of concrete. Many of the maples on my street are in serious decline, victims of their own roots that grow round and round in between the bands of concrete, rather than having the opportunity to stretch out, and live large. Girdling roots will eventually strangle a tree. OK, this horticulture discussion is finished. The neighborhood trees in full fall color deserve a mention, do they not? I toured my neighborhood this morning, just to see the fall color on the trees.
It was not in the cards for me to take a fall color trip to some more rural location. I work most every day. My fall color trip through the neighborhood took an hour this morning. During the summer months, the trees are a fairly uniform shade of green. In the fall, every tree represents the fall season individually. A tree tour in my neighborhood is the best in the fall. Each tree turns color on their own schedule. Some trees go yellow for fall. Others go red. The sugar maples are the most incredible combination of yellow, peach, orange and red imaginable. This sugar maple, just a block away from home, is beautiful, and fiery.
Fall color is a phenomena not completely understood. Day length is key to triggering fall color. But temperature, weather and placement all play a roll. Sometimes the science has to take a back seat to the experience. The fall in Michigan is a season like no other. The air is crisp. The falling leaves give way from the branches of the trees, and silently waft their way to the ground. The fallen leaves crisp up, and crunch underfoot. The sun low in the sky ignites the color.
A Japanese maple in its summer green grows on to become riveting red in the fall. Good landscape design in my zone takes the fall season color into consideration. I am in favor of a landscape that thoughtfully places evergreen trees in beautiful concert with deciduous trees. Contrast in the landscape makes for a very pretty party. No season is more about contrast than the fall.
I planted 4 Venus dogwoods in the right of way in front of my house this summer. They have beautiful fall color right now. Planting dogwoods in the right of way is a gamble. The city may dislike my choice of a ROW tree. We will see. This fall season in Michigan-incredibly beautiful. The neighborhood trees are looking really good right now. The fall gardening season is a moment to treasure. Agreed?