Here at Lime Cross lots of our homegrown deciduous trees are getting ready to drop their leaves in anticipation of winter and these preparations are responsible for the beautiful Autumnal colours that we know and love.
Before the trees drop their leaves they must first breakdown and reabsorb the chlorophyll contained within. Chlorophyll is an essential part of photosynthesis but it also gives the leaves their green colour. As the chlorophyll is removed the remaining pigments of yellow and orange are revealed. Red leaves are caused by a pigment called anthocyanin which is produced as sugar concentration in the leaves increases.
Our Liquidamber and Sorbus (Mountain Ash) trees are looking particularly fantastic right now with a beautiful show of colour and we grow many species of both at Lime Cross.
Liquid Amber trees are known for their long-lasting autumn colour and as their flowers are rather inconspicuous; this is the time of year when they really stand out. Most of the Maple-like leaves are in the process of changing colour and some trees are showing a full range of colour from bright green to deep red.
Full-size Liquidambars such as Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Palo Alto’ and ‘Worplesdon’ are popular and known for reliable displays of beautiful colour but we also grow dwarf cultivars such as Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Oconee’ and ‘Gumball’ which have a large shrub-like habit and are perfect for the smaller garden or border.
Sobus trees, known also as Mountain Ash, are members of the rose family and are also showing their full autumn colour right now. As well as these beautiful autumn leaves, Sorbus trees produce colourful berries which can make a real impact in a garden. We grow a variety of Sorbus’ here including ‘Autumn spire’ which has a very columnar habit, ‘Wisley Gold’ with small white flowers in spring and clusters on long-lasting yellow berries in autumn and also the classic ‘Joseph Rock’ with yellow berries, loved by birds, that contrast brilliantly with the deep red leaves.
Many trees are yet to start this process so we’re looking forward to seeing what colours this autumn will bring.