October brings a colorful end to the gardening season

The trees are putting on quite a brilliant show this year.

October brings us the great colors, the fiery red, gold and yellow leaves of the trees, burnished tall grasses, and even the weeds are colorful.

And we gardeners celebrate the end of the season, with just a twinge or two of nostalgia for the spring daffodils and lilacs, summer’s tomatoes and huge sunflowers, and, of course, Iowa sweet corn.

A question I have been asked lately is what is the bright red vine and leaves climbing up some trees? Is it poison ivy? Poison oak? Sumac?

A vine climbing up a dead tree, showing its autumn color.

Frankly, I haven’t gotten close enough to check the number of leaves as most of these host trees appear to be dead and are deep in a ravine. If you must get close remember the saying, “leaves of three, leave it be.” Poison oak and ivy both have three leaves.

Poison Sumac is a shrub, a tree actually, and it, too, can cause a rash. It is a beautiful red in the fall but it does not climb. It is tall and easy to admire without touching.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *