Fall foliage: Season to view fall colors

Eloise Ogden/MDN ABOVE: Trees with their changing leaves are reflected in the water of the Souris River in Roosevelt Park, Minot.

Many North Dakotans like to spend their last travels of the season chasing fall color around the state.

These changing colors can be seen throughout North Dakota through mid-October, according to the North Dakota Forest Service.

The Farmer’s Almanac has predicted the peak fall colors for North Dakota’s deciduous species to occur from Oct. 5-21. However, the growing degree days and drought stress put this about one and a half weeks ahead of normal. Because of this, color change will likely be less intense and more short-lived this year. Likely, the foliar color change will begin first in the east and northeast and move westward across the state.

Tree care this fall

After a harsh summer season, tree care this fall will be especially important this year.

North Dakota Forest Service offers these tips to help keep trees healthy during their winter dormancy:

-If the ground is dry, deep water your tree(s) at least once a week until the ground freezes up. This will recharge soil moisture for spring growth and lessen the chances of winter injury.

-Apply mulch around trees approximately 3 inches deep but keep the mulch 4-6 inches away from the base of the tree. This will insulate the soil, hold soil moisture, and protect roots. Wood chips or shredded bark are best.

-Fall transplanting should be completed while soil temperatures are still warm enough to allow for several weeks of root growth into the new soil. Planting beyond the recommended dates may work, but the chance of success decreases later in the year. Take care to keep the soil ball together and the fine roots moist.

-Wrap the trunks of young and small trees with a tough, plastic tree wrap. This will help protect them from winter sun scald and rodent damage.

-Burlap wrap or shield small, high-value landscape conifers.

-Prune your branches once the tree is dormant; late winter and early spring are the best times for this. Dead wood can be pruned at any time.

-Remove or destroy leaves after leaf fall, especially those infected with fungal diseases.

-During winter, be careful with ice melt around trees. These salts can easily damage trees.


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