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Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 10/19/2010

Ready to rake?

By Kevin Ambrose

* Some afternoon sunshine: Full Forecast | Hottest year-to-date globally *

fall_foliage0_web.jpg
This scene is disliked by many and is an indicator that raking will soon follow. Do you recognize the scene?

I decided to have a little fun shooting one of the more common scenes of fall. As the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I found this scene kind of cool, particularly with a close-up view, but the owner of the car was probably not too amused. The heavy rain last Thursday morning brought down foliage and plastered the colorful leaves to a parked car. It's a matter of days and weeks before all of the leaves come down, covering our cars, homes, and yards. Ready to rake?

Keep reading for wider views of the above photo...

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A wider view of the colorful leaves plastered to a car's windshield by Thursday's rainstorm in Reston, VA.

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Leaves cover a car and the ground after a heavy rainstorm Thursday morning in Reston, VA.

By Kevin Ambrose  | October 19, 2010; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  | Tags:  autumn, car, Leaves, rain  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Fickle fall weather
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Comments

Those look mainly like ash leaves, which might become hard to find in the future if the emerald ash borer gains a foothold. Ash trees tend to turn a week or so earlier than the rest of the trees in autumn, and are yellow or sometimes purple while most other trees are still green. BTW the purple leaf color is due to anthocyanins, which turn red in leaves such as maple with acidic sap. Anthocyanins are an indicator pigment similar to litmus; they turn red if the sap is acidic, as in maples and blue or purple if sap is alkaline as in ash trees. Trees whose leaves contain no anthocyanins, such as elm and tulip poplar, generally turn yellow to orange [from carotenoids] when cool weather causes the chlorophyll to break down. Oak leaves generally have a mixture of anthocyanins, carotenoids and tannins [which cause the leaves to turn brown] masked by the chlorophyll, hence oak leaves may turn any color, depending on the genetics of each tree, but oak and all other leaves eventually turn brown--the difference is that oak leaves generally turn brown on the tree before falling--and many of the lower leaves on many oak trees and some sugar maple trees are marcescent, that is, they remain on the trees all winter. It is thought that marcescence may protect the lower branches of these trees from browsing by deer; the marcescent leaves reach about as high on the tree as a white-tailed deer can browse, and the leaves are either bitter to deer because of the tannins or tasteless and non-nutritious.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 19, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

You can tell Bombo47 is a botany person :-)
We've already done a few raking shifts in the front yard. Mostly cleaning up after a neighbors dogwood. It's one of the nicest trees on the block, so we don't mind.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | October 19, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea: Thanks for the detailed explanation. Yesterday, I raked a lot of black walnut leaves from my backyard. I noticed they were mostly yellow in color and they always seem to be the first to fall.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | October 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea: Thanks for the detailed explanation. Yesterday, I raked a lot of black walnut leaves from my backyard. I noticed they were mostly yellow in color and they always seem to be the first to fall.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | October 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't quite tell whether those leaves r ash or hickory leaves, both turn mostly yellow in the fall. Ash is 1 of the woods used in baseball, the other being maple. Emerald Ash bores r a major problem. Once again an exotic bug finds its way into the ecosystem, just like the chestnut blight. Fortunetly researchers have developed trees that r showing great promise in resisting the blight, & the chestnut may once again become a dominate tree in the Eastern forests.

Posted by: VaTechBob | October 19, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, between VATechBob and Bombo, this is indeed quite a botany lesson tonight!

Posted by: --sg | October 19, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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