The Science Behind Fall Foliage

Mixed Foliage

Why do leaves change color in the fall? A good start to answering this question is to look at each of the pigments involved.

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Posted in Tree Research

Italian Cypress


“A Drought-Tolerant Favorite”

Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), also known as Mediterranean cypress, has been used in formal gardens and around buildings for centuries. This tall, narrow tree can reach heights over 50 feet, but is rarely more than 15 feet wide. Cypress can be very long-lived; some trees are reported to be over 1,000 years old!

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Posted in Tree Species

Northern Red Oak

“A Hardy Landscape Tree”

The northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is a fast-growing and long-living tree known for its beautiful red fall color, value to wildlife and status as the state tree of New Jersey. Called “one of the handsomest, cleanest and stateliest trees in North America” by naturalist Joseph S. Illick, the northern red oak is widely considered a national treasure. This tree is valued for its adaptability and hardiness in urban settings. The northern red oak is also one of the most important oaks for timber production; used for furniture, flooring, and veneer. It is native to most regions of the U.S. near and east of the Mississippi River, excluding the Deep South.

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Posted in Tree Species

Japanese Maple

Japanese maple in autumn

“A Popular Feature Tree”

Native to Japan and parts of Asia, Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) has been cultivated in temperate areas around the world since the 1800s. This tree is one of the most common features in landscapes of the Pacific northwest and British Columbia. There are many varieties with differences in leaf color, leaf shape, growth habit, and bark appearance.

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Posted in Tree Species

European Beech

European beech in autum

“A Beautiful Shade Tree”

Many cultivars of European beech (Fagus sylvatica) have been selected with red, purple, variegated and cutleaf foliage as well as weeping and fastigiate branching habits and other traits. The European beech can live more than 150 years and can grow 30-40 metres in height with a spread of 10-13 metres when mature. In the early 19th century the oil from the tree was used for cooking and to fuel lamps. The tree’s fruit was also ground to make flour, though only after the slightly toxic tannins were leached out.

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Posted in Tree Species

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