Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Color Source


Here in the great Northeast we consider ourselves special because our trees display great Fall color. News broadcasts originating from New York City report the development of leaf color. Bus and train excursions move people to see these great color displays. Motels raise their rates during leaf peeping season. It is a little humbling to learn that the source of much of the red color is the trash tree sumac. Sumac growth is rapid and coarse. Annual growth rings are so wide that the trees have little strength. No self respecting country boy would build so much as a campfire with sumac. But it is sumac that supplies much of the red for our Fall display. The tree may be trash but there is no denying the brilliance of its red Fall leaves.

Sumac berries supply a food source for overwintering birds. Spring robins are seen picking at the remains of berry clusters. Tea can be made from these red seed heads but it will never replace Orange Crush. Plant nurseries sell a weeping version of sumac. Not bad for a tree that country boys consider to be trash.

3 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

Becky ... I'm happy to see a post on the Sumac even if it is considered trash ? LOL .. I have a soft spot and two different ones in my garden and love it to bits especially this time of year .. this was great to see girl ! : )
Joy

Janet said...

Beautiful fall color too!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I know we have some kind of sumac around the area here...I've seen them as I look into the woods while driving by, and I'm going to pay more attention this year to see if they have the brightest reds here, too! Perhaps they'll be one of the first to change colors? I am sure that they won't resemble anything near to the color you've shown, though...our temps stay warm too long and don't get that necessary shot of cold that helps the leaves colors get so brilliant.