2014-10-07 / Front Page

It’s October And Fall Is In The Air

by Mark Evans, 4-H Youth Educator.

Fall officially arrived last week on the calendar, despite the fact we have had very warm days in late September. The evenings though are certainly cooler during recent weeks. Some fall color has started. Walnut leaves have been raining down during the past couple of weeks. The ash trees are beginning to have that purplish cast that makes them stand out so brilliantly.

Many wonder what the ingredients are for a bountiful fall showing of leaf color. Contrary to what one might think, dry weather and frost do not promote leaf color. The best fall coloration occurs when we have cool nights in forties and warm afternoons in the sixties and seventies with adequate or normal rainfall. The sugars that promote the bright reds and oranges are produced in these weather conditions. Our temperatures have been ideal for maximum fall coloration during recent weeks. Precipitation has been all season. Persistent rain or wind in coming weeks knocking down leaves would be the primary threat at this point to derail a wonderful display of fall color. Fall leaf color will likely peak during the next two to three weeks for most of the area.

Trees or shrubs with leaves that have various fungus and other issues on the leaves may not look appealing or have one concerned, but there is little reason for concern since the leaves will be dropping soon anyway. Tulip popular trees in particular have powdery mildew on leaves and fall webworm has been particularly active during the recent month. These issues will not hurt the tree and will be going away shortly. If there is interveinal chlorosis of red maples in the landscape, they commonly are showing a manganese deficiency due to too high of a soil pH which can be helped by lowering soil pH. Pin oaks show similar symptoms due to high soil pH values but are often suffering iron deficiencies. Fall is a great time to soil test so contact the office for information and assistance in procedure and interpretation of results.

Please use extra caution in the coming weeks when driving on the highways. Large equipment like combines, semi-trucks, tractors and grain carts are on the roads harvesting and removing this year’s crop. It will be a long harvest season as yield have been spectacular and there is significant grain to be hauled out of fields. Admiration of leaves or pursuit of attending a local festival can distract from prudent steps needed to be taken when there is a slow moving vehicle in the proximity.

Visit our homepage at www.extension. purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming events

October 13 – Columbus Day, County Holiday Office Closed

October 13 – Purdue Extension Antique/Collectible Club, Putnam County Museum, 6:30 pm

October 13-16 Indiana Extension Homemakers Association Week

October 29 – Extension Annual Meeting, Fairgrounds, 6:30 pm

November 1 – Online 4-H Enrollment Opens

January 15 – Enrollment Deadline 2015 County/ State Fair 4-H Exhibit Eligibility

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