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Fall Colors In The
Forest - Joe F. Combs
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Fall Colors In The Forest

Farm Corner - November 12, 1956

by Joe F. Combs

East Texas and West Louisiana have a wealth of trees and shrubs that are unusual for their beauty, and they reach their peak of attraction in the fall. They turn their creeks to the cold winds, and bring out the blush and beauty they are so gifted as showing.

Masterpieces are painted in the deep woods, and Jack Frost aids in the artistic works. No master ever used a brush to display such colors and beauty as are unfolded by the trees of the forest in late fall. It takes the cold nights followed by bright sunshine to bring out all the reds, yellows, and orange-colors of the many species of shrub and tree that grace the woodlands.

If temperatures prevail at around freezing, or under 45 degrees for a few nights and are followed by warm bright days, we have the combination of weather to compound the secret formulas for coloring foliage. Authorities say that when warm days are followed by a sudden temperature drop at night, sugar and other plant food compounds are trapped in the leaves, and these materials produce the pigment for nature's colorama. Trees become most beautiful when they begin their preparation for winter's long sleep, and again in spring, symbolic of youth and old age.

Those who are fortunate enough to be in the Ozarks in Arkansas or the Smokies in the Virginia region, will have the opportunity to see the swift change of the foliage from deep green to golden yellow, red or orange, depending upon the kind of tree. In the hills and mountains the trees that develop the colored foliage in fall are more plentiful than in the southern woods or the lowlands. But we have plenty to make the scene beautiful.

If city dwellers who are landscaping their homes and grounds would take the time and trouble to see these trees in all their color, they would most likely want some of them in their plantings. One never tires of their peculiar grace.

Those showing red foliage are the flowering dogwood, maple, red maple, sugar maple, pinoak, scarlet oak, white oak, sourwood, sweet gum, tupelo gum, black gum and many others. One of the most attractive is the little sourwood with its bright scarlet leaves in fall. It is also beautiful when it develops its sprays of little cream-white flowers. They resemble the lily of the valley and are very sweet scented. They occur at an unusual time for flowering trees late July or early August.

For orange foliage we find some of the hickories, a species of ash, hornbeam, sassafras and some species of maple. And some of the scrub hickories along the roadside develop uniformly bright yellow foliage, and at one stage of the white oak as it changes to fall red, the leaves are bright yellow.



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