Autumn Is For Maples


The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson



Once my maple tree leafs out, it casts a canopy of luminescent green leaves all summer long cooling large areas of the garden.  It is the first tree to flower in spring, and the last to lose its leaves in fall.  And in late August or early September, depending on the weather, it will begin to almost leach out its bright green color becoming lighter.  If the weather cools enough in late summer, early fall the maple leaves will begin to turn red here and there.tree-logo

And this year has been that perfect slow time for the maple to turn its amazing colors.  Not in full fall dress yet, but just beginning.  I am linking in with Lucy@Loose and Leafy for her Tree Following meme that happens around the 7th of every month as I chronicle what has been happening to my beloved maple tree in my garden as summer turns to fall.







You can see the red just beginning on a few areas of the maple…..and that lighter green color.




DSCN5042Here are the leaves up close from September.  Every year, this area of red leaves appears on my maple.  I find it interesting that it appears in the same spot around the same time.  And this cluster has less of the Tar Spot fungus, those black spots on the leaves.  This fungus is unsightly but rarely deadly to the tree.





Even the lichen on the tree is changing color which I never noticed before.  I was more of a coral color this summer and now it is turning a golden color.  Very interesting.





I really like how the lower part of the tree bark is cracked but not really grooved.





Then when you move up the tree the bark smooths out.  Both pictures of the bark are in black and white.  I like the look of tree bark in monochrome.





This is the back or north side of the maple tree.  You can see the long arms of the side branches that really spread out.  The smaller branches coming off the arms all droop down.  It is how they grow not upright at all.  I really like this look of drooping branches.





And another view from the left or west side of the tree.  From here this tree looks almost like an umbrella covering a large area unlike the ash trees next to it that keeps its branches closer to the trunk.





One more view a bit closer from the left or west side.  The lichen makes a great covering as it reaches all the way up the tree.  The top right shows the underside of some branches that are full of holes from the woodpeckers.  I wonder what is so tasty in the tree.

A favorite aspect of trees in summer and early fall is the sound the wind makes as it moves through the branches and trees.  Do you know what this whispering sound is called?  No.  Well it is called Psithurism.  It is not a commonly used word and has its origins in Ancient Greek.  My tree makes a sweet rustling noise all season.  It is a predominant sound in the garden once the frogs and birds are silent in fall, and especially welcoming at night.  Such a soothing lullaby.  And it is one of the sounds I miss once the leaves are gone.

In a few weeks the maple will be wearing different colors and by November it will be baring its branches more.  I will be back hopefully in November to show you a colorful update. 


So are you following a tree?  Is fall dressing your tree differently now?  



When we plant new trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.  ~Wangari Maathai




Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will have a Bloom Day update. I wonder what will still be blooming in October after this second frost and our cold snap.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.






67 Replies to “Autumn Is For Maples”

  1. As a child, I always loved the stories of tapping the Maple trees. Though I live so far south, i always had something in me that felt an affinity for them. Enjoyed the post.

    1. I am not sure if ours are healthy enough to tap, but they are getting bigger. With only 2 we probably wouldn’t get much but boy it would be fun. At our old house we were surrounded by black walnuts and sugar maples. Our neighbor collected the sap and made his own maple sugar while the squirrels collected the walnuts.

      It is a fun time of year up here but not looking forward to the increasing cold weather Randy.

  2. I love your lichen picture, Donna. The trunk of one of our maples is covered in lichen and the bark is peeling. I don’t if this is normal or a problem, but it is beautiful. P. x

    1. I think it is common for maples Pam and many in the neighborhood have the lichen and peeling bark and some are young trees too.

  3. Oh, I love that word Psithurism! Thank you! It is one of the most calming sounds I hear. What a wonderful tree Donna. You make me excited to watch my red maple grow. It is still green. I did notice that my Amur maples (invasive trees I know) have begun to get lichen on their trunks – age in my garden! I need to update my Tulip Tree following – thank you again for the reminder.

    1. You are welcome Kathy! 🙂 If I were to plant a maple now it would be a red one….such a great native tree for a garden.

  4. How could anyone not appreciate maples — especially after reading/seeing your portrait? Love the the colour and texture of the lichen, too. Beautiful.

  5. There are so many varieties of maples and without a guidebook to distinguish the leaves, they’re hard to tell apart. The trees in the back of our place along with the tree line make a sound like a locomotive rushing through when it’s really windy out. I’d much rather have a soothing sound which does occur sometimes with a gentle breeze. Nature’s music is awesome!

    1. Where I used to work we had that locomotive sound…thankfully here it is a calming soothing sound. It took me a while Judith to figure out that mine was a silver or swamp maple, but it came down to the leaves as you said.

  6. Your tree is wonderful and what a perfect one for Autumn (as I am sure it is for all seasons, but the fall color is wonderful). We’re enjoying the seasonal changes here in Oregon now. Because we travel, I don’t have any trees I can follow throughout the year, but I have certain favorites to check out in places where we hang out regularly!

    1. It is nice you have a few you can follow Sallie. I agree maples are perfect anytime, but especially in fall. Enjoy the autumn colors wherever you are. 🙂

  7. I miss the wonderful fall color of sugar maples, and others that used to grow in Massachusetts where I come from originally. There is a native big-leaf maple that grows here in the PNW, but it doesn’t have great color like others. It does have leaves as big as dinner plates though.

    1. Wow those are big leaves Alison. Hopefully you will see all the fall colors via blogs and the internet. It is something you just can’t get out of your blood once you were raised with incredible fall color so I know I would miss it.

    1. Thanks Caroline…we are getting near peak color and many parts of Northern NY are past peak already. But we can chase the colors south too so at least we have color for quite a bit of time here which I love.

  8. A lovely tree, I love maples. Thank you for the new word. Pisthurism. I thought you had made it up at first because it is so delightfully onomatopeic.

    1. Oh I wish I had made it up Chloris but I am just not THAT clever…glad you enjoyed my maple tree. It is putting on a show now as the weather is continuing to stay cooler.

    1. I am following the change a couple times a week as it is moving quicker now with the cooler temps. By the end of October the leaves are all down usually Cathy.

  9. You can’t beat maples for fall color. I wish we had sugar maples in this area, but it’s a bit too warm for them.

    1. Oh that is too bad Jason. We do have them here as they are the state tree, but in my garden they are silver maples which are close to sugar maples and can be tapped too for their sap.

  10. The Maples are just about to hit peak around here. We’ve had an interesting autumn. Not really warm, but no frost yet. It feels kind of like we live in London this year. I love the amazing colors of various Maple species!

    1. They are just about to hit peak here too beth even with the 2 light frosts we had. Expected to get a real frost tonight that may put many flowers to bed. We shall see. Cloudy right now but if it clears and goes down into the 30s we will have a real frost.

  11. Donna, what absolutely beautiful photos you have taken of this magnificent tree! You have really managed to capture the beauty of the textures and colors of it, and I especially admire the lichen photo — I’d never really looked at lichen very closely before. Thanks for sharing this with us! -Beth

  12. What a magnificent specimen Donna. I love how you noticed about the lichen changing colour too, that is really interesting isn’t it? Having lichen means that your air is pure and not polluted which is nice to know.

    1. Christina I love knowing we have such clean air here even next to a highway. The trees here clean it well, and that explains why we have so many critters too I think. I loved that the lichen changed color. I plan to follow it a little closer this year.

    1. The amazing thing about maples is the colors they can change into…reds, orange and yellow. Glad you enjoyed the show!

  13. Your tree is beautiful Donna, is it inside your garden? Love the Lichen shots too, they are wonderful to study over the winter when things are bare elsewhere.

    1. Yes Julie. This tree is smack in the middle of my back garden. We inherited the 2 silver maples in our garden as they were on the land when we bought it along with about 10 white ash.

  14. I love maples. Actually I love most trees. These are all beautiful shots. I love the vivid color in the first shot and also the trees still green and the lichen. Great sequence.

  15. That’s an interesting idea, to follow a tree. I guess I do it on a casual basis when I go to my favorite garden and take photos of the same trees and flowers every year!

  16. I’m going to have to add Psithurism to my vocabulary–one of my favorite sounds. I have a maple tree, too, that is always the last to turn. It’s interesting because the color always starts at the top and then works down until it’s covered in such intense color that everyone notices it in my yard. Beautiful photos! I hope Lucy does this again next year; I’d love to join in.

    1. What a fascinating tree you have Rose. I would love to see a sequence of it changing color from the top down. Glad you enjoyed the trees progress through the season.

  17. 8 years ago I planted two small maple trees. They were very young and had very thin trunks. Now they are about 12-14 years old trees and their trunks are very close, branches are crossing each other. As your they look as umbrella. In summer I prune their new branches and they keep their shape. Do you talk to your maple? I do!
    I follow trees too.

    1. Oh Nadezda those maples sound lovely. My maple and ash grew up together in a forest before they developed the land and they were left together holding hands in our garden. I talk to my trees and plants all the time.

  18. Fun idea to focus on a tree. I might have missed what you said but is it a red maple? I have a lot of sugar maples,and I love their fall color. Still seems like the end of summer here.

    1. Actually it is a silver maple or swamp maple tree Carolyn. I wish it was still more summer-like as I could use the time.

  19. When walking through the haunted woods at the Anne of Green Gables site in Prince Edward Island where home is for me I’ve often talked about the eerie feeling and sounds that come from the wind and trees from high above. Now I’m about to add Psithurism to my vocabulary. I’ll need to go to the dictionary so I’m able to phenetically sound it out, lol. Most lovely pictures

    1. Cindy so glad I could add this word to the sound you hear…I would love to see the Anne of Green Gables site and the gorgeous area of the world you live in.

    1. It has been teasing Janet although now with the colder weather this past week, the trees are moving faster although not the deep and varied colors I see on sugar maples.

  20. How extraordinary to have that patch of colour arrive before the rest every year. I real season note. That’s interesting the way bark smoothens out as it goes up the tree. Do you know why that is?

    1. I am glad you enjoyed my tree Lucy. I don’t know why about the bark but I think it may be about the age of the bark.

  21. Donna, thanks so much for commenting. Love your maple tree post, and the idea of following a tree. Then through your post. I found Lucy’s ‘Tree Following’ meme, and a whole new world of interesting blogs. So thanks a lot!

  22. Oh wow, it is already autumn, and i will be seeing lots and lots again of blogs with amazing autumn colors. But i never get bored with them despite the repeated yearly series of them.

  23. hello Donna, I love the colour of the leaves on your maple, the lighter green looks fresh and sunny, the red/orange patch is a nice complement to the green, it is curious though that the same area goes red before the rest, the bark and lichen are nice too, I have noticed here how some of the mosses and lichens change colours with I think the temperature (I could be wrong and it is something else that causes it), I love looking up through trees, the criss crossing of the branches and canopy of leaves, Frances

    1. You should see the maple now Frances…orangy yellow as it is losing leaves quickly here…garden is fading and I have done nothing…oh well a bit of cleanup is all I can manage now. I think you are correct about the lichen changing color. I agree it is a temperature change.

      1. I’ve done nothing either Donna and nothing much will get done over the next few weeks, thank goodness the garden is going to sleep soon, another season next year, Frances

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