Magic and Falling Leaves

November 8th, 2007

There’s magic in the air… maybe it comes with the season.  Each season has wonders all their own, and if we’re lucky or really looking we can see them.  Yesterday morning was one of those magical days.  The temperature was well below freezing, so many of the annuals and green leafy plants were nipped by the cold. These Maple leaves were beautiful.

But because it has been so warm during the month of October, many of the trees still had (have!) green leaves on them.  But they are going fast…   and yesterday I was able to see a few trees lose almost all of their leaves in a matter of hours!

We have quite a few Eastern Redbud trees around the landscape.  Some are probably 25 years old and have a large canopy of leaves on top.  These leaves were mostly green until the past week, and yesterday morning they were literally raining from the tree.  There was little to no wind, and after a night of freezing temperatures, the leaves must have finally let loose from the tree.

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Technically it’s called Leaf Abscission, but I didn’t know a tree could do it so quickly, all at once.  In fact, several of these trees lost all their leaves over a matter of 2-3 hours!

The Redbud leaves fell in a gentle, steady rhythm, carpeting the ground all around… making quiet little tssh, tic, ssh noises all around.  And all the Redbuds were doing this!  Pardon my fascination… but it was really cool to watch. I’ve never quite seen anything like it, and tried to take a few pictures.   It was kind of magical…

This Redbud started yesterday with a full canopy of leaves on top, but lost more than half of them in a few hours. You can see a couple leaves falling in the picture.

 Leaves falling from a Redbud tree, carpeting the ground in a matter of hours

This Redbud was bare by the end of the day, as were a few others.

 Leaves fell of this Redbud tree in one day

Later I took a walk throug the woods and found a couple of Maple trees I didn’t know were growing amidst the Oaks.  The leaves made up a colorful carpet that was unexpected here.  The tree is the small one at left with the gnarled roots… will it survive?

A carpet of Maple leaves in Missouri

Here’s a branch from the same tree, competing against the Oaks but happily growing in the understory.

Maple tree branch in Autumn

Along my walk I was excited to find this little six-inch Short-leaf Pine tree seedling.  In the spring I planted 15-20 pine seedlings around the acreage, and most of them died in the dry summer.  I tried to water a few, but figured they didn’t make it.  To my surprise this little guy is doing just fine.  Now if it doesn’t get eaten by a deer (like my little Apple trees!) then maybe we’ll have a big ‘ole pine tree one day!

Missouri native Short Leaf Pine tree seedling

2 Responses to “Magic and Falling Leaves”

  1. Love your pictures and little short-leaf pine. They grow slowly but do well in poor soil. On this land there are some and they are widely separated; I never see two together. I don’t know why.


  2. Hi Divinebunbun! That’s interesting about the pines… I would love for them to grow around the property, so maybe I’ll plant a few more. You’re right- the soil where this one grows is mostly rocks!
    Thanks for the feedback :)

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