P80819Halloween is my all time least favorite of the fake holidays. I will not elaborate on this now, but will say that the appearance of Halloween decorations as soon as the Fourth of July decorations were outdated on the fifth makes me dislike Halloween even more. Halloween is an autumn pseudoholiday. It is not meant for summer!
Autumn foliar color, or fall color, is known as such because it happens in ‘fall’ . . . or autumn. It is not meant for summer any more than Halloween is.
This little Japanese maple did not get the memo. Perhaps it thought that no one would notice if it got an early start. It was a nice bronze in spring and the early part of summer, and somehow managed to maintain good color without roasting when the mild weather so suddenly became more seasonably warm a while back, but is now turning this nice pinkish red as if it is done for the year. This picture is slightly more than week old, so this little tree has been slowing down for a while already.
I can not complain. I am actually impressed that this tree did not get roasted when the weather changed earlier. Japanese maples are susceptible to scorch in our arid climate, and the ‘lace leaf’ cultivars are the most sensitive. More resilient foliage, including English laurel cherry, got roasted.
What will this Japanese maple look like in autumn? I can not predict. It would be nice if it held the premature color through autumn and defoliated on schedule in winter. It might defoliate as prematurely as it colored, leaving it bare part way through autumn. The bark could scald if too exposed while the sun is still high and warm. The weather will determine what happens next.

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22 thoughts on “Premature Color

  1. Autumn fruits like blackberries and sloes have been ripe in wild hedgerows for a few weeks (UK). Long, cold winter; no spring at all; jumped straight into hot, early summer; 3 months no rain; grey, damp August… funny old year.

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    1. Sloe typically ripen in autumn? I have never seen one before. I would have guessed that they would have ripened very early, before cherries. The stone fruits that used to grow here ripened somewhat according to size. The small cherries ripened early. Apricots ripened next. Peaches ripened last.
      Your weather was a hot topic this year. Three months without rain is less than half of our dry season, so it was odd to read about how bad it was there.

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    1. So far, I can see nothing wrong with it. It is weird.
      We used to get Japanese maples from New Zealand. I did not like the idea, but it worked. They arrived completely dormant in the middle of our summer, and somehow survived the transition.

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  2. My little lace leaf acer doesn’t seem to have survived our hot summer, alas. It was a birthday gift from a friend last year so I do want to replace it, but they can be so sensitive which is a pity. For the moment I’m leaving it in a quiet corner in case it still has some life in it, but I’m not hopeful.

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    1. Some specie will do that if distressed. Distressed poison oak has been red even here for the past month or so since the weather warmed up, but healthier poison oak is still mostly green.

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