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November 18, 2011

Fall Foliage - Peaking at lowest elevations


A cornucopia of color is arriving in time for Thanksgiving Day, throughout California.  This is the week to see color in the state’s urban forests where non-native exotic trees are now showing flame red, burgundy, orange and yellow in landscaped areas below 1000 ft in elevation.

75-100% – Urban Forests - Urban areas throughout California are glowing colorfully in time for Thanksgiving Day.  Mild weather has contributed to keeping leaves and berries on the trees.  The colorful show has now descended among exotic trees to below 1,000 ft in elevation with Chinese pistache showing flame red, crabapples yellow to orange-red, Sycamores varying from chartreuse to burnt sienna, and plums radiating burgundy red.  Look for the color to continue through Thanksgiving week in the Sierra Foothills, Sacramento, Fresno and San Francisco Bay Area.

50 – 75% – Los Angeles - Frank McDonough of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden reports that of the trees that will show color at the arboretum, half their leaves have turned.  Among them include: autumn blaze maple, Chinese pistache, pin oak, American elm and crepe myrtle.  Visiting an arboretum in autumn is a great way to see what color appears on a tree and when it appears… useful in planning a garden.

Color spotters Megan and Cynthia report from the Shasta Cascade that color has peaked in many parts of this vast region of northeast California, though spots of color can be seen in several places.

Butte County:
75 - 100% - Butte County- Butte County is at peak.  A plethora of vibrant reds and yellows that are covering the mountain sides and lining the roadways. Look out especially for spectacular colors to be found in the Oak trees and Maple trees.

Shasta County:
75 - 100% - Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The lake is truly a sight to behold from any vista point.  Different areas of the lake are showing fall colors and change in their own unique way. The native trees are still green, hardly changing at all, while there is the most stunning change to be found among the exotic Chinese pistache, with vibrant oranges and deep reds. These trees are not native but are certainly beautiful, nonetheless.

75 - 100%- Burney Falls State Park- There is still color to be found in the park, though it is near past peak.  Golden leaves, and glimpses of reds can be seen on younger blacks oaks, while some trees have already switched into their winter coats. Grab a sweater, a picnic lunch, and a friend to enjoy this beauty, before it's fully gone.

Tehama County:
Past Peak -  Lassen Volcanic National Park- Fall is long gone and winter has made its way into Lassen Volcanic National Park. There is no evidence of fall colors lingering. White snow has become the main force, as far as “color” goes.

Lassen County:
75 - 100% - Bizz Johnson Trail - This national recreation trail is still glowing with fall color.  To be seen are reds, oranges, golds, even an occasional green leaf along the trail.

Siskiyou County:
75 -100% - Mt. Shasta- On the journey to the Mt. Shasta you will see golden yellows and brown leaves not only now covering the trees, but also coating the ground. It’s a prime time to grab a rake and bound into a mammoth size mountain of leaves.

Trinity County:
Past Peak - Weaverville- The peak has come and gone in the Trinity County area, though there is still color to be seen. Stick to the waterways and near rivers to see golds and browns in the trees and on the forest floor.  This is a great time to take a scenic drive and enjoy the fall colors from the comfort of your vehicle.

Plumas County:
Past Peak - Plumas County- The County has already displayed its beautiful fall color show, but there are still a few straggling oaks that haven’t changed in the lower elevations. Throughout the region you can still see pops of color here and there.

Modoc County:
Past Peak - Modoc County - Due to the cold and windy conditions, the majority of the leaves are now coating the forest floor. There are a few still on the trees, but even those are expected to drop by the end of the week. Overall the forest is prepped for the arrival of winter.


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