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The leaf litter peak

Moving toward late fall here in Chicago, and while the leaf colors are past peak, the amount of leaves on the ground has reached a high point. I notice them everywhere, on top of cars and under the wheels, covering sidewalks, and of course blanketing the ground. From what I see in the neighborhood here on the South Side, among the greatest generators of leaf detritus by volume are the maples (Acer), particularly the silver maple (Acer saccharinum) which I have seen planted both by the city in streets and parks and in private backyards. W.J. Bean writes in his Trees and Shrubs Hardy to the British Isles, that “owing to the rather brittle nature of the wood, it is not suitable for use as a street tree,” but current usage around here disproves that. Its leaves are almost always yellow, which is also, to my eye, the predominant color of fall in Chicago.

Tags leaves fall change color plant

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