Treebeard's Homepage : Stumpers

Treebeard's Stumper
21 Nov 97

Fall or Spring?

Fall colors and winter rains are coming together this year. Native deciduous trees like willows, maples, and Valley Oaks are just starting to turn color. Soon they will drop their golden leaves and stand bare for the winter. At the same time, the hills and fields around school are starting to turn green as next year's wildflowers sprout after the recent rains, finally ready to grow after our long, dry summer. Here's a real stumper: why do the trees go dormant just when most other plants start to grow?

Note: this stumper probably only makes sense in coastal California. Here in the Santa Ynez Valley, we have a classic Mediterranean Climate with two main seasons, a hot dry summer and a cool wet winter. At this time of year, deciduous trees turn color and drop their leaves just as they do across the country at this time of year. But this is also the start of our growing season for many other plants, and the hills are greening up after recent rains. That's the stumper!


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Marc Kummel /