A Maybe Not So Fabulous Fall Prediction

I hate to be a downer in these dastardly droughty days, but I am predicting a not so fabulous fall color season this year. Brace yourselves. I could be wrong, but the autumnal color we all love to ogle might be a bit dim in 2019.

Our recent drought has lessened our favorite trees’ ability to produce vivid pigments. Soil moisture content throughout the summer, especially as the growing season winds down, is a key part of a great fall display. Warm days and cool nights, plus adequate soil moisture, allow trees to produce and retain the sugars normally needed for pigment production. If a tree is under extreme duress, it will color up early, dropping its leaves prematurely. The current weather trend, in addition to the weather of the past three weeks, leads me to believe we are in for a duller than normal fall in our region, which if you are Jim Gaffiganis okay.

Fortunately, at Wellfield, we have such a diverse collection of plants (compared to what you’d see in Michiana’s wild outdoors), there’s ALWAYS something in bloom (yes, even in the winter, for you fans of Witch Hazel) and the rich color and variety of both perennial, annual, and evergreen foliage, as well as the amazing architecture of our plant collection, make everyday’s visit worthwhile at Wellfield!

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager

One thought on “A Maybe Not So Fabulous Fall Prediction

  1. Some of our natives, particularly poison oak, start to color sooner after arid weather. Of course, we don’t get much color from natives here, and the exotics do not respond in the same manner. Sweetugums might start to color sooner after arid weather, but also defoliate sooner.

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