It’s almost October.  In our Northland this is the time dramatic changes take place in the outdoors.  Actually, the changes begin  in late  June when the days begin to shorten…..The changes go  unnoticed until “autumn”.

….Until  this past week.  Visually, “the  fall” is here.

Every fall we get calls from friends regarding changes they notice on the foliage of  their pines or arborvitaes…..or on any of our conifers, for that matter, the trees and shrubs commonly called evergreens. 

The inner needles, that is, the inner foliage, begins to turn yellow or brownish and then drops off to the ground.  This is a normal process, the manner in which these trees shed their older needles. It occurs only in fall.

There are some foliar diseases which do attack older leaf growth  on conifers.  The more widespread the disease on its victim, the much thinner the foliage,  often reaching  the point where the only living needles left on the tree are those remaining from the year’s new growth in Spring. 

We can notice these scantilly leafed conifers especially on spruce, yews, chamaecyparis and arborvitae grown in deep shade especially where there is little air movement.

Needle drop caused by diseases usually does not occur in the fall.

Larch, which is often called tamarack, is a conifer which drops its foliage every autumn….after it displays a lovely yellow for a few days.  I believe the Japanese Larch have the brightest yellow for fall color.  The folliage of all larch is very pleasing to the touch.

Most larch are easy to grow and with the exception of the dwarfs, can get quite large.

Spring came quite early in 2010.  An early Spring usually means an early Autumn…and often, an early Winter. 

The foliage on the conifers is changing early this Autumn.