Here are some lovely trees in autumn shades of reddy brown near the house:
Except those are evergreens. Pine trees.
Evergreens, of course, don't turn colors in the fall - unless they are dead. The scene is common - large clusters of pine trees dead all over the area. We had a particularly hot summer which was particularly devoid of rain. We had a few days of rain in August, but by then the trees were stressed considerably.
The drought didn't kill them, however - a tiny little pest did. The Southern Pine Bark Beetle has been active in the area. It's a quick and lethal creature - it takes down stressed trees easily, but will destroy healthy ones just the same. We lost three or four massive pines on our property a few years back - the invoice for removing the trees was a whopper and we were pretty upset that the extra cost to purchase the heavily treed lot was wasted in a matter of months. Still mad about that, truth be told.
There are very few signs that your tree is infested with beetles - once you can see the damage, it's really too late to rehabilitate the tree. Once the tree turns noticeably brown, the beetles have left for another host and it's "Sayonara, Pine Tree." There are a few ways to control the pest, but they aren't very effective or practical.
So anyway - this is our Fall color this year. Whee. In case you are wondering, the rest of the trees (both deciduous and evergreen) are still very green. It was in the low nineties this week, so I expect it to be green around here for a while. Our seasonal color goes something like this: green, green, green, green, brownandfalloff, buds in January, green, green, green.....
Oh, we do have one tree variety that does make gorgeous colors in some years, but the Chinese Tallow is considered nastily invasive in Texas (and probably everywhere else) and we've been asked not to plant any - it reproduces quickly and edges out the native varieties. Annoying, that, but what are you going to do?
But hey, we aren't shoveling snow like some states, so I guess I shouldn't complain. For the record, there has been no need to shovel snow in this area since....well....ever. And you will never see me complaining about that.
p.s. Tomorrow, the boys and I are making Autumn Leaves as a craft - it's the best I can do for them this year. If you have any groovy Autumn kiddy crafts, feel free to link me up, ok?