03 November, 2013

The magic of fall.


There is an explosion of color in our back yard right now. And inside, the whole house is glowing orange because of the trees reflecting color through the windows. This is the magic of fall. 

I have a love and hate relationship with these trees. In the spring, they produce so many seeds (helicopters) that I spend the rest of the summer pulling clumps of baby maples from every crevice. At some point we had a maple forest growing in our gutters. I curse the trees every May as I get bombarded in the face by flying seeds every time the wind blows ever so gently. When it gusts, you have to run and hide inside to avoid being attacked by thousands of tiny little maple missiles. 

In the summer they provide much needed shade in the back yard and, after spending an hour to pry the tiny sprouted maples from the floorboards of our deck, quite soothing with the gentle rustle of their leaves. Although the branches are so low that Terry can't even mow under them. But that's not a problem since maple leaves leach a chemical that kills pretty much everything under the crown. So there isn't that much grass under there anyway.

I once read that the rootball of a maple tree is twice the width of the crown. I got two, really close together. I guess digging for an inground pool is out of the question. 

In winter, they're at their best covered in snow. The bark turns black when wet and is rather striking against the white sparkly snow. In winter, we check for unwanted nests (of the buzzing stinging variety), but we have been lucky so far, no residents. I am sure that my Orkin man is really happy that we haven't found anything as well, because I doubt he wants to climb up a tree to remove the pests. 

In the fall, the trees explode with color. After all, these are Autumn Blaze maples. They start at the top, turning deep burgundy. I gotten into the habit of checking the trees late August for first signs of fall. The burgundy slowly creeps down as the temperatures drop until one morning you come downstairs, open the kitchen window blinds, and get hit in the face by the explosion of every shade from yellow to deep red. This fiery display lasts for about a week. Then the leaves drop practically overnight, and our (and our neighbors) property is covered in leaves ankle deep. Since the trees are three stories tall, the leaves are the size of my hand. When we bought the house the trees were 2/3 of their current size. The leaves make their way to the front of the house and pile heavily under the fountain grass and the rose bushes. By the time I get to cleaning them out of the spring, they're compost. 

Every year I hope that the color show will last until Danny's birthday party. And every year they drop completely bare the week before. This year they turned late, so maybe there is still hope. Although I am starting to see nakedness at the top. 





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