Save the drive time

first_imgBy Marco T. FonsecaUniversity of GeorgiaAs temperatures begin to drop in the fall, the life-giving greenchlorophyll in the tree leaves fades away, unmasking a rainbow ofcolors to splash the countryside with yellows, oranges, reds andpurples.When those leaves fall and the canopy rests in the winter, theactivity in the dark, colorless world beneath the soil doesn’tstop. The roots explore, colonize and mine new soil, recyclingorganic compounds from the now-fallen leaves to provide nutrientsto the trees.Such is the colorful cycle of life, never ending, alwayschanging. The colorful senescence of fall and drab dormancy ofwinter always leads to the rebirth of spring flowers.When I lived in New England, though, I always felt that fall wasthe best season. My soul was humbled by nature’s display of fallcolor.But you don’t have to travel to New England to enjoy the fallcolors. Just a few hours’ drive north of Atlanta from mid-September to late October, the trees on the north Georgia hillsdisplay radiant colors.Better yet, since fall is the best time to plant trees, why notestablish your own backyard fall color?Red buds, sweet shrubs and fire bushes can frame any homelandscape with fiery reds, along with the majestic scarlet andcrimson red oaks and blood-red black gums. Golden hornbeam andbeech provide yellows.Here are a few quality landscape trees Extension Servicehorticulturists have recommended over the years:Sourwood is seldom planted in yards but is anexcellent tree withbrilliant, deep red fall leaves.Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is wellknown for its brilliantyellow, orange and scarlet fall colors.Chinese pistache provides bright orange andred fall colors. Itthrives in the lower coastal plain of Georgia where few othertrees have great fall color.Ginkgo is sometimes called maidenhair tree.No tree can match theluminous yellow color of its fan-shaped leaves.Japanese maple is one of the most spectacularsmall trees you cangrow in Georgia. It grows slowly but provides good fall color.Red maple produces bright red to yellowcolors. Maples offer thegreatest potential for fall colors in Georgia yards.Scarlet oak is usually the last tree inGeorgia to develop itsbrilliant red fall color.To learn more about planting colorful shade trees, see the UGApublication, “Fast Growing Shade Trees”( Or call your UGA ExtensionService county office.last_img

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