Fall officially arrived last week on the calendar, despite the fact we have had very warm days in September. The evenings though are certainly cooler during recent weeks. Some fall color has started. Walnut leaves have been raining down around the Clay and Owen County area during the past couple of weeks. The ash trees are beginning to have that purplish cast that makes them stand out so brilliantly.
Many wonder what the ingredients are for a bountiful fall showing of leaf color. Contrary to what one might think, dry weather and frost do not promote leaf color. The best fall coloration occurs when we have cool nights in forties and warm afternoons in the sixties and seventies with adequate or normal rainfall. The sugars that promote the bright reds and oranges are produced in these weather conditions. Our temperatures have been ideal for maximum fall coloration during recent weeks. Precipitation though has been spotty and that may deter brilliant fall colors in some locations, particularly to the south and east. Rain could also become persistent in coming weeks knocking down leaves, but we will hope that will not happen. Fall leaf color will likely peak in about two to three weeks for most of the area.
Trees or shrubs with leaves that have various fungus and other issues on the leaves may not look appealing or have one concerned, but there is little reason for concern since the leaves will be dropping soon anyway.
Tulip popular trees in particular have powdery mildew on leaves and fall webworm has been particularly active during the recent month. These issues will not hurt the tree and will be going away shortly. If there is interveinal chlorosis of red maples in the landscape, they commonly are showing a manganese deficiency due to too high of a soil pH which can be helped by lowering soil pH. Pin oaks show similar symptoms due to high soil pH values but are often suffering iron deficiencies. Fall is a great time to soil test so contact the office for information and assistance in procedure and interpretation of results.
Also on Thursday while assessing harvest progress, USDA staff were found taking down the purple colored emerald ash borer sticky traps that most have seen hanging around the county during the summer. The traps are needing to be taken down as leaves are beginning to stick and make assessing the insects difficult.
Please use extra caution in the coming weeks when driving on the highways. Large equipment like combines, semi-trucks, tractors and grain carts are on the roads harvesting and removing this year's crop.
Admiration of leaves or pursuit of attending a local festival can distract from prudent steps needed to be taken when there is a slow moving vehicle in the proximity.
Considering the wet start, floods and unprecedented dry August, many soybean yields have been reported to be respectable in the low to mid 50 bu/A range. Corn yields to have been respectable given the weather of this year. Corn is very wet at over 20 percent moisture adding a great deal of cost to production in terms of drying expense. Moisture levels of around 13 percent are needed for safe store.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 Ext. 14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
Oct. 8-9 Indiana Flower Growers Assoc. Annual Conference
Oct. 9 Indiana Cooperative Summit, Danville, 8:30 a.m.
Oct. 11 Adventures in Gardening, Danville 8:30 a.m.
Oct. 14 Ribeye Blood Drive, Spencer, 3-6 p.m.
Oct. 15 Starting a Community Kitchen, Vincennes, 8:30 a.m.
Oct. 18 IBEP Bull & Bred Heifer Sale, Springville, 2 p.m.