When I ordered some seedling trees from Pennsylvania the week of Thanksgiving, I was holding out as late as possible to have them shipped dormant to our SE Texas version of fall. What I didn’t expect was for the nursery to ship Pennsylvania fall weather along with the trees. The past two mornings have dawned in the upper 20’s…Not our normal early December lows. Average lows this time of year are usually in the mid 40’s. This morning even had enough frost on the ground to make it almost “snowy”.
On Saturday morning I started to plant some of the seedlings that had come in on Thursday. The low that morning was in the mid 60’s. I only managed to get a few in the ground before a cold front and rain moved in and settled over the area for the day. when it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to plant the rest over the weekend, I moved the seedlings out of the bucket of water they had been resting in and “heeled” them in in the sand behind the house.
Even though the temperatures have been low these past couple of days, the days themselves have been just gorgeous. Clear and sunny, the air crisp and clear like it gets only after a cold front has blown through.
Speaking of fall…This has been one of the longest, drawn out falls I have ever seen. Because of the drought conditions, the trees began changing colors and dropping their leaves way back in early September…at least some of them did. Some of them are just now starting to change colors. This is more normal for our area. Late November and December leaf color is what we are used to. Though, I have noticed, the color seems a bit more pronounced this year.
Falls in SE Texas are much more subtle than further north. The most vivid of our fall trees are the invasives. Our brightest and most varied leaf color is found on the Chinese Tallow trees that spring up in disturbed fields around our area. Bright reds, vivid purples, neon oranges and yellows…The trees can run the spectrum in leaf color…Sometimes all on one tree. And it’s been the Chinese Tallow trees that started turning colors back in September as they were stressed by the lack of water. It wouldn’t surprise me much if a lot of these trees didn’t come back next year.