Montreal In The Fall 10

I am suggesting you see Canada’s spectacular Fall Foliage Color, first hand, on a walking tour in Montreal.

The Arboretum of the Montreal Botanical Gardens covers a 40-hectare area, equivalent to 59 football fields — that’s over 180 acres!

Note: there are no marked trails in the Arboretum. You will be walking on the grass and using the map to find your way around. If you are worried about getting lost, check the Arboretum map or talk to the staff at the Tree House center at he MBG before you set out.

With that settled, the crew suggest that you start your tour from the northern tip of the Garden, which will bring you to the Arboretum straight away.

Yesterday, I shared information about the amazing Larches!

After walking past them, and the more familiar evergreen pines and spruces, you’ll come to a group of trees casting such dense shade that there isn’t often even any grass under them. These are the maples (Acer spp.), Canada’s national symbol!

The delightful fall colors are due mainly to the biochemical reactions in the leaves due to the gradual reduction in daylight. More about that, below.

As winter approaches, deciduous trees form a membrane at the base of their leaf stalks, and that’s the point where the leaves will later drop off.

Without their usual supply of minerals, the leaves are unable to produce the deep green chlorophyll pigment, and so they lose their green color. This brings out the yellow and red pigments, which have been masked by the chlorophyll all summer long.

Maples’ color varies with the species. There are brilliant yellow for silver maples; orange-yellow to red for sugar maples; bright red for red maples and so on.

Some of the maples in the Arboretum are indigenous, others are exotic, but all maples are excellent ornamental trees because of their stunning colors in autumn and the beauty of their delicately shaped leaves.

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) was one of the first trees to be planted along this city’s streets. This happened in the late 19th century. Today, streets bordered by these giants are very popular with homeowners, even though there’s lots to clean up in the fall. The trees have beautiful shapes, even in winter.

Starting in the 1920s, Norway maples (Acer platanoides), which are highly tolerant of urban conditions, were also widely planted in the city. Actually, they are the most common trees that you will see along Montréal streets.

Finally, be aware that there are varieties that do not belong in the urbanscape. Consult with your nurserymen. One is the infamous Manitoba maple (Acer negundo), which manage to take root in cracks in sidewalks or lanes and grow to a surprising size.

There’s nothing more wondrous than seeing branches of fire-colored maple leaves waving in a gentle breeze, with a stunning blue sky behind and a crisp feel of autumn. This is EXACTLY why I am writing about Montreal and the Northern tier, right now!

Montreal Botanical Garden

Montreal Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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