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The Suburbanite
  • Fall colors alive in parks, neighborhoods

  • Fall is here and with it comes hay rides, pumpkin faces and the changing leaves with bright oranges and yellows, deep reds and purples.

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  • With every warm afternoon and pull-up-the-covers night, those wonderful fall colors are get closer to bursting out all over the area.
    Fall is here and with it comes hay rides, pumpkin faces and the changing leaves with bright oranges and yellows, deep reds and purples.
    Along with the change of colors, many signs of fall can be found around the area already.
    YOUR PARKS
    More birds are flying overhead and some of the wildlife is beginning to stock up for the winter.
    Natalie Schroder, a naturalist for Stark Parks, said that while the onslaught of the leaves changing color depends on the weather, the migration of birds is more routine.
    “Most of the birds will start their migration at the end of August through September and October,” Schroder said. “People will start to see the Saw-Wit owl which is the smallest owl in Ohio. Hunting birds and water fowl and birds not seen all summer will start to be seen again in the fall.
    “Some of the wildlife such as deer, squirrels and woodchucks become very active in the fall because they are preparing for winter.”
    In Western Stark County, follow the Towpath Trail through to see birds, wildlife and – of course – those fall colors. Jared Shive, marketing specialist with Stark Parks, said there are 25 miles of viewing areas through Jackson Township and Canal Fulton.
    “Visitors can start at Lock IV or St. Helena's Heritage Park in Canal Fulton and walk in either direction to find plenty of open views,” Shive said.
    Schroder noted that best time for the brightest leaf color is usually the second week of October.
    “The tulip and sycamore trees change early in September and there are plenty of wildflowers that bloom in early fall,” Schroder said. “Some of the most common wildflowers include the Joe-Pye Weed, the good kind of goldenrod, Black-Eyed Susans and the ironweed with white and dark purple is a good indicator of the end of summer and that fall is coming.”
    Stark Parks offers a list of programs on its website, www.starkparks.com, for those interested in learning more about watching fall arrive while on the hiking trails.
    YOUR BACKYARD
    Residents can landscape their own yards to have full color for the fall.
    Matt Workinger, nursery manager at Rohr's Nursery at 7211 Portage St., NW in Jackson Township said there are plenty of trees, shrubs and flowers that can be planted for fall colors.
    “One of the most common flowers for fall color is the Mum,” Workinger said. “The mums can be orange, yellow, purple or brown. We sell 2,000 to 3,000 mums every year. Another colorful plant for the landscape is the Kale Cabbage which holds up through cool weather months.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kristen Haas, greenhouse manager at Rohr's Nursery, said to get the longest life from mums, cut them down and mulch them over when they die off in early November.
    “When the mums come back in the spring, cut them back to 4 inches and that will get them to bloom during the fall versus blooming in the summer,” Haas said.
    Haas also said that fall is the time of the year to plant bulbs for the spring including tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Rohr's also offers the more well known fall items such as pumpkins, straw, Indian corn, gourds and cornstalks.
    “Plus, the fall is one of the best times to plant grass seed because grass germinates fast in the fall,” Haas said.
    Workinger said a few of the plants for landscapes that will produce plenty of fall colors include holy bushes, cotoneaster trees, falsespinaea shrubs, dwarf butterfly bushes, burning bushes, knockout rose bushes, sumac and tiger eye sumac and choke and winter berry bushes.
    Whether walking or biking the local trails, walking through one of the parks in Jackson Township or walking through one's back yard, the fall months offer plenty of bright colors and one last blast of warm days before the snow flies.