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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

A remarkable color season is fading fast


Here in the North Country, the fall color season is always a special time. But this year seemed more extraordinary than ever as cold nights early in the month, combined with plentiful sunshine, produced one of the most spectacular displays in recent memory.
While the maples, aspen, and birch change colors every fall, the vibrancy of those colors are determined by a number of factors, and they mostly all aligned this year to maximize the brilliance of the display.
Adding to the mix was the fact that both the aspen and birch turned about ten days ahead of their average. Those who pay attention to the fall colors know that we typically have two color periods in a North Country autumn. The red maples and black ash are first, providing that first splash of yellow, orange, and scarlet in mid-to-late September. As those colors fade, it’s time for the aspen and birch, which usually peak in the first ten days of October. This year, most likely because we had such hard freezes in early September, the aspen and birch peaked along with the maples, leaving the entire landscape ablaze at once.
I made a number of trips in the past week up Jasper Peak to climb the fire tower. The views were incredible.
The one downside of such a spectacular fall, is that the colors are fading too soon. The aspen and birch are normally just now coming into peak color, but this year the leaves are already falling fast. The tamarack will be our last chance at fall color before we settle into the October gray. Can the snowflakes be far behind?


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