When we think of autumn, or fall, we think of bright, colorful foliage! Our area has a way to go before reaching peak color, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have falling leaves! The two maples in our backyard have been shedding their foliage since July all over the yard and on the deck and deck furniture. The leaves seem to be falling prematurely because they are affected by a fungus, called “maple tar spots” which, when I looked it up last year, form on maple leaves when they are unable to completely dry, due to wet weather. Once the fungus has taken hold, its spores are carried on the wind to affect other trees.
So I spent this morning sweeping the deck and part of the driveway that were covered with these ugly tar spot leaves! Since maples usually display the brightest colors in the fall, I’m not sure we’re going to get beautiful autumn foliage this year, as the problem is worse this year than last year and seems to be affecting all the silver maples in this area. Apprently the fungus weakens the leaf as it covers much of its surface where photosynthesis takes place, so the leaf falls off.
I can’t predict what the foliage will look like this fall, so here are some photos of fall foliage from past autumns. (The first one was taken at our former cottage on Upper Kaubashine Lake in northern Wisconsin; most of the rest were taken in October 2015, the last time autumn put on an exceptionally beautiful show around here.)
Fall foliage has fallen!