An attribute of autumn I once found delightful but now find depressing and burdensome is taking place as I write this. Trees are losing leaves as if the trees were rejecting poisonous attackers, flinging them to the ground in an attempt to survive the onslaught of climate-adjusted winter. Streets are slick with leaves, made even more slippery with periodic heavy rainfall. Driveways hide beneath thick layers of brown and orange and yellow and red exfoliation. Entryways to houses beckon visitors with colorful nests of leaves, the majority of which appear to have some sort of glue that is activated by footsteps and, then, is deactivated when the leaves touch floors inside houses.
I wouldn’t find leaf-fall so troublesome if everyone else would just let the leaves fall where they may. But they aren’t satisfied to do that. No, they must blow the leaves into piles, thrust them in large bags, and haul them away to a spot where the leaves will be dumped and sucked into the jet stream to be deposited back on the yard next to where they originally were collected. I’ve noticed this year that the vast majority of leaves are a sickening orange-yellow reminiscent of a certain someone’s hideous head of hair.
Leaves here are rather bright and colorful this year compared to last. But I, too, have noticed that lots of them have been damaged in one way or another. I’ve wondered whether the trees here are suffering from changes in their environment (you know, the way people are…everyone notices the weather in general is different now than it was only a few years ago).
I wish people would just leave the leaves. So many creatures depend on leaf mulch to survive the winter. Perhaps more people will become aware of the place of leaves in ecology and stop being fanatical about cleaning them up. On the subject of leaf appearance. Many naturalist up here are noticing that the leaves of a number of trees are quite damaged by fungi, leaf miners, etc.. before they fall. I’d say I noticed it with the sugar maples about 3 years ago — and that jives with what others have seen. Many of us wonder if it is due to the leaves being stressed from heat, increaed UV, acid rain or other pollution… or what? It makes for a much less colourful leaf fall than we used to see in autumn. Many leaves are sort of muddy yellow-brown when they fall. That’s rather weird.