Published on October 21, 2013 in The Vindicator (Link)
By SHEE WAI WONG
Warm sunny days and cool nights in late September and early October combined to make the perfect recipe for fantastic fall color at Mill Creek Park this year.
“We should get a nice display this year,” said Ellen Speicher, assistant horticulture director at Mill Creek MetroParks.
While the display started early, the best colors are yet to come, said Speicher. She anticipates the most vibrant colors will be on show throughout the rest of October.
Carmelita Reyes of Youngstown is a regular visitor to the Fellows Riverside Gardens, and she often brings her two sons along.
“We come here all the time, now it may be the last time we are able to enjoy the nice weather. My kids just love it.”
The reason for the great autumn is because of the rainy summer the Mahoning Valley experienced. Apparently, that wet weather is excellent for growing trees. – and the better the trees grow, the better colors you get in the fall.
“We’ve had very nice moderate rain throughout the spring and summer months, which is allowed the trees to catch up a little bit from the past two years of having really hot and dry summers and falls,” said Casey Burdick, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
He predicts the second full week in October to be the peak of fall color in Northeast Ohio.
Among the trees with the showiest foliage are the maples and black gum trees, which are two of Speicher’s favorites.
“Some of the nicest trees, of course, are the maples, especially the sugar maple, which usually turns to really pretty yellow or orange color. We also have some trees like black gums that are native trees, they turn a very beautiful red color,” Speicher said.
Mill Creek has scheduled several events to take advantage of this colorful display said Linda Kostka, development and marketing director at Mill Creek MetroParks. These include the annual Pumpkin Walk at Twilight Oct. 20 at Fellows Riverside Gardens and wagon tours at MetroParks Farm on weekends.
Kostka also recommends park lovers “take a drive to see the exquisite fall foliage.”
“Highlights will be found at the Garden Café terrace that overlooks Lake Glacier, the gorge area at Lanterman’s Mill and a drive down Price Road,” Kostka said. “Of course, any place in the MetroParks is beautiful the fall.”
While the trees and plants get most of the attention, wildlife lovers might want to observe some of the little creatures that inhabit the park. These animals become quite active in fall because they are grasping their last chance to store some extra food in preparation for winter. Speicher said you can usually spot squirrels hanging around the parks and gardens.
“We have oak trees in our gardens, especially in our woodland areas.
And, where there are oaks, there are acorns. And where there are acorns, you get lots of squirrels.
Speicher said the squirrels target the red and white oak trees, but they usually eat the acorns from the white oaks first because they produce sweeter acorns. The acorns from the red oak trees contain tannic acid, which means they will last longer for the winter.
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