A Month in Autumn: Watching Three Trees

One method of observing closely the ways leaves change in the Fall is to take pictures of the same tree on many different days. Early in October I selected three trees in Eliza Howell Park to track this year, taking a picture of each from the same location on nearly every visit to the park.

Here a collage of four pictures of each tree, with the dates of each picture, a sufficient sample, I think, to show the way the changes progressed.

Sugar Maple

Starting from top left, clockwise: Oct. 9, Oct. 20, Oct. 28, Nov. 6.

Sugar Maples start turning from the top, gradually moving down. And the top leaves start falling before those at the bottom have completely turned.

Sugar Maple leaves turn red and/or gold. Often, as in this tree this year, part of the tree is one color and part another.

The fallen leaves lie heavy on the ground, right under the tree.

Pin Oak

Starting from top left, clockwise: Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Oct. 28, Nov. 4.

All of the leaves on the Pin Oak tree changed color basically at the same time, different from the Sugar Maple. And they hang on the tree for a while after they have reached peak color, changing further to brown before they fall.

Eatern Cottonwood

The third tree, an Eastern Cottonwood, does not have low branches and leaves, as the previous two. The pictures, in showing the whole tree, also show backgound trees.

Starting at top left, clockwise: Oct. 5, Oct. 13, Oct. 23, Nov. 2.

The Cottonwood turned more quickly and the leaves were gone shortly after the color reached its peak.

As they fell, the leaves scattered more widely than those of the Sugar Maple and the Pin Oak, perhaps because they fell from a greater height.

I am finding it very helpful to have a series of photos of the same tree over a month or so in order get a fuller understanding of end-of-season transition.

As I think about next year, I am undecided about whether to use the same trees, to be able to compare different years, or to select different trees, to get a better sense of how other species progress.

Perhaps i will try to do both

5 thoughts on “A Month in Autumn: Watching Three Trees

  1. Leonard, Thank you so much for your always interesting posts. I found your site earlier in the summer and have been enjoying them. I do most of my walking downriver from Eliza Howell around the Rouge in Dearborn, so even if I’m not at the park your observations are always timely and relevant in my neighborhood. Thanks a bunch!


  2. Excellent series! I’ve always thought of doing that but never had the patience and persistence. Only thing close was shooting the moon phases (but missed waxing gibbous because of clouds!). Great post! William


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s