Tom's Blog

Monday, October 1, 2012

Outstanding fall color in the oak savannas

This year the fall color is unusually fine. Perhaps the long growing-season drought had something to do with it. In most years the color of most of our white oaks (Quercus alba) is a drab brown but this year they are a rich red, although not as colorful as Q. rubra (northern red oak). In addition, all the prairie grasses are also in fine color, brought about by the two mornings of sharp frost we had earlier in the week.

Yesterday was unusually fine, clear, with lots of sun and open skies, and no wind. You couldn't ask for a better day!

The Pocket Prairie shows lots of rich red-brown color of Indian grass, brought about by the freeze the night before. Most of the Silphiums have turned yellow.

This area, called the White Oak Savanna, is unusually colorful this year because of the rich red color of the white oaks. Most  years these oaks are a drab brown. The oak in the lower left corner is a small Q. rubra.

Some trees turn color earlier than others. These are both white oaks, as are those in the grove behind.

A small grove of young oaks just uphill from the Pocket Prairie. The tree to the left is a northern red oak and the others are bur oaks, which never turn red.


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