Morrisville State College



A Tribute to my Favorite Season: Fall  

The air is crisp, the smell of apples and harvest fill the air, and the days are shorter, that’s right kids its fall again. A time of fun holidays, family gatherings, toasty bonfires, and many fond memories of our childhoods gone past, fall is here once again. Beginning in September and ending in December this short yet amazing season is my absolute favorite. For us Plant Nerds here at Morrisville State fall is a busy time, many bulbs to be planted, transplanting is at a peak, and it’s time to winterize the landscape. So many horticultural wonders spot the landscape, in a season of many endings this is a time to kiss annuals goodbye enjoy those last minute perennials, bask in the brilliant colors of the trees and shrubs, and soak up the sights and sounds of the season.

Some favorite fall perennials include hardy mums, asters, goldenrod, and the very artistic Chinese lantern. The chrysanthemum is the m ost prolific perennial ever developed. Forms 12- to 15-inch mound of flowers August to Frost. Long-lasting choice for flower arrangements as well. Mums do best in full sun, well-drained soil. The Chinese lantern is a 1-2 foot perennial that produces extremely decorative seed cases that look like glowing orange paper lanterns. Excellent fresh cut and they can also be easily dried and make amazing fall arrangements. This perennial spreads quickly make sure to plant where it can be controlled. These hardy frost tolerant perennials fire up the landscape with bright reds, yellows, oranges, and purples.

Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi) 1

Beautiful autumn shrubs also erupt from the scenery such as the fiery burning bush, staghorn sumac, and viburnum. Euonymus alatus, Winged Burning Bush has outstanding red fall color and corky wings on the twigs. Plant in an area with sun or partial shade and any good garden soil. The wings hold winter snow, outlining the branch structure for a very artistic feel. The plant has a height and spread of 8 to 10 feet. Staghorn sumac, in some areas will grow more like a shrub than a tree. This tree is wild and in some areas of the country invasive. It's leaves are pinnately compound with 11 to 31 lance-shaped leaflets. The twigs are hairy, and bark is dark brown and smooth or scaly. This plant prefers open uplands, edges of forests, roadsides, and old fields for habitat. In the fall foliage turns a brilliant shade or burgundy. Brilliant shades of bright fall colors come forth from these shrubs that seemed so boring all year long.

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)


Trees which seemed hidden all year long also come alive for their last show of the year. The maples are some of the most brilliant, especially the sugar and red. Acer rubrum or Red Maple is an excellent specimen or shade tree for large areas. Is growth habit is pyramidal when young, then develops an irregularly rounded crown. One of the first trees to color in fall, leaves may be bright yellow, flaming orange or red. Also the birches turn a show stopping yellow, against their beautiful white bark. Birch bark turns white as tree matures. Leaves turn gold in fall, and they grow 2-3 feet a year until 40-50 feet tall.

Harvesting of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn occur this season. With pumpkin patches turning bright orange and gourds gracing fall displays. Bittersweet is also an American favorite with its bright orange berries with yellow casings. American Bittersweet (Celastrus Scandens) is a tangled, twining, high climbing vine. The flowers are green in the spring and turn yellow in the fall. The fruit is on the vine from September to December or longer. The soil needs to be well drained to dry soil with a light shade. The pumpkin, is a warm-season vegetable that can be grown throughout much of the United States. Major uses for this crop include jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween, pumpkins are used to make pumpkin butter, pies, custard, bread, cookies and soup.

American Bittersweet - Celastrus scandens


Pumpkin 1

So… grab some hot cider and go for a walk, notice the woodlands, landscapes and fall displays. Enjoy the last sunny warm days and bright colors of the landscape. Embrace the fall season for winter’s cold wrath is coming near. But remember what would fall be like without all of these amazing horticultural wonders in our surrounding landscape?


Plant Nerd

Mike Ameele~

Floral Design 07