A collage of colorsBlazing orange. Sun-bright yellow. Deep-dark red. Earthy brown. Glowing gold. Fall officially arrived on the calendar last Saturday but the trees and falling leaves have been signaling the change in seasons for some time now. The next few weeks should be prime time to take a leisurely drive, bike ride or stroll to take in the fall color.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Blazing orange. Sun-bright yellow. Deep-dark red. Earthy brown. Glowing gold.
Fall officially arrived on the calendar last Saturday but the trees and falling leaves have been signaling the change in seasons for some time now. The next few weeks should be prime time to take a leisurely drive, bike ride or stroll to take in the fall color.
The Douglas County area, as of Wednesday, was 25 percent or more of the way to reaching its peak fall colors, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which tracks leaf color conditions throughout the state.
The DNR reported that Lake Carlos State Park is between 10 and 25 percent of the way toward peak fall color. It offered this advice for prime viewing areas at the park:
Where to go: Head out on the Prairie Pothole trail to watch the prairie grasses dance in the wind, as the grasses are in good color. The Maple/Basswood trail and the Hidden Lake trail are the two most popular hiking trails through the wooded areas of the park.
What you’ll see: Asters, goldenrod and sunflowers add additional fall color to the prairie. The ash are showing some yellow and the sumac is showing good shades of red. We are experiencing some leaf drop in ash and boxelder. Some of the maples are just starting to turn yellow to orange at the tips of their branches.
Also of interest: Check out Inspiration Peak, 20 miles north of Lake Carlos State Park. Seeing the fall colors from the Peak is a breathtaking sight.
The dry conditions the state experienced this summer will impact fall colors. The DNR touched on the topic in its “Question of the Week” when a resident asked what this year’s colors will look like because of the drought.
Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist, Grand Rapids, gave this answer:
“Fall colors vary from year to year and place to place for several reasons. Weather is most critical in determining the colors displayed each fall.
“Colors are best when high quality foliage – a product of a warm, moist summer – is exposed to sunny, cool fall days. Light frosts may also help, but hard freezes can ruin the display. Physiological stresses placed on trees can impact fall colors. Cool, wet summers can cause premature displays of color. A mild summer drought may actually increase the display, but severe drought usually dulls colors noticeably.
“In some cases, foliage may die early and turn straw-colored due to a lack of water. Because it is too dry to produce the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges, the severe summer drought will create a landscape filled with the subtler colors of tans, bronzes and auburns.”