Sunday, November 23, 2008

Selah's Colors of Fall

When J. David was a young boy in Ohio, his mother Hester planted trees around the house and in the acres behind the house. He loved seeing them grow, and to this day plants trees on the ranch. When he started planting them on Selah in 1970 there were lots of trees here, but there were some that were missing. Maples probably grew all over the Hill Country in a previous wetter time, but today are mostly found in a few canyons and the Lost Maples State Park 50 miles west of us. David has planted over 400 Big Tooth Maples here and there are some areas that rival the State Park when the colors are brilliant.


At this time of year, at every turn of the road or trail the colors of fall are in evidence. J. David spends time out enjoying the fruits of his labor, and loves to bring friends out to see the fall colors. We even have a "Fall Colors Hike" in late November. Yesterday, Novemberr 22nd 60 people came out to hike around the trails.
(Note: Schedules are regularly shown on our website: and you can sign up ahead of time for a scheduled tour, workshop or hike. You will receive a confirmation letter and directions shortly before the day of the event.)

This grouping of Big-tooth Maples (Acer grandidentatum) are planted along the main road and can be seen at one of the turns in the main road. I want to point out that the maples are in corrals to protect them from deer, who consider them one of nature's most delicious treats. When these maples were planted we had no way of knowing that they would grow into magnificent trees that have beautiful colors.

At Madrone Lake, and along the creeks the colors of Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) that are getting ready to lose their needles are rusty red. They are especially colorful when the sun shines though them in the late afternoon.

On the trail I'm amazed at the symphony of colors that are seen in a sweep of the eyes. In this scene there are Spanish Oaks (Quercus buckleyi), Ash Junipers (Juniperus asheii), Big tooth Maples and Escarpment Black Cherries (Prunus serotina var. eximia).

Rusty Blackhaw (Virbunum rufidulum) turns a wonderful deep clear red, and retains its leaves for many weeks.

Smoketree's (Colinus obovatus) leaves turn a purplish red in fall which is quite striking. It is an uncommon tree but does well in our limestone soils.

Big-tooth Maple's colors can range from clear yellow to deep scarlet. The colors in this maple this year are what we call Salmon. We have been keeping records for over 10 years to determine if the colors are consistent from year to year, or if they are affected by weather or other variable conditions.

This maple on the Big Tooth Maple Trail is an exceptionally beautiful shade of crimson.

Maples frequently have several colors on the same plant. Here we have peach, yellow, and scarlet.

Spanish Oaks (Quercus buckleyi) turn a variety of colors. Some of the reds show a fair amount of pink in them.

This Spanish Oak is a deep scarlet.

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is in the White Oak goup (note rounded lobes) and in the fall its the leaves turn yellow and various shades of tan and brown.

Escarpment Black Cherry turns shades of yellow and yellow orange before their leaves drop.

Arrowood Virbunum's leaves turn red in the fall. When the late afternoon sun shines through them they are a beautiful deep red.

Photographs by Margaret Bamberger taken during the week of November 17 through 22.


1 comment:

Kathleen Wilson said...

Margaret,
What great pictures! The color was wonderful this fall. I bet you had a blast taking those pictures. Wish I had come out to the fall color hike.

Love,
Kathy