All the colours of autumn

All the colours of autumn

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting an increased chance of cooler than normal, wetter than normal conditions this winter though, as usual, they are being cautious about it.

Trees and shrubs in the garden are already showing their seasonal colour, so they are certainly expecting an early onset of winter. Plants produce a special hormone called abscisic acid in response to shorter day length. This hormone migrates through the plants to the joint between the leaf stalk and the twig and makes a thin wall of cells that gradually block the flow of water and nutrients to and from the leaf.

The plant draws chlorophyll and nutrients down into the bark for storage through the winter, leaving only the substances it doesnt need in the leaf. These include pigments like carotenoids (yellow) and anthocyanins (red) fortunately for us!

Some plants such as Japanese maples and liquidambars are incredibly variable. Their autumn foliage colours range from deep burgundy, through various reds and oranges to yellow. When choosing a tree or shrub for autumn foliage, always select it at this time of year so you can see what you get. Named varieties grown from cuttings or tissue culture should always be true, but seedlings could turn out any colour.

Evergreen shrubs and trees may also be dropping leaves, just not all of them at once. No leaf lasts forever; there is always turnover. Dont be worried if you see some yellow leaves on your gardenias, as this is just a few of the older ones being retired from service. Some of us will rush around with the Epsom salts (thinking this is magnesium deficiency), but theres really no need unless all the leaves are turning yellow and even then I would be inclined to suspect root rot first.


Plenty to do

Plenty to do

SMITH: Plenty to do in Lismore

MUNGO: The crazy political year that was

MUNGO: The crazy political year that was

MUNGO: So that was the parliamentary year that was

Freedom of dance

Freedom of dance

THE GOOD LIGHT: This week's edition

Local Partners