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I wanted to find someplace where fall arrives later, which meant giving up on the Eastern Sierra and the aspens that may already be at their peak. That left cities, particularly those with trees — some thousands of miles from their native habitat — that burst with color mid-October into early December. The only native trees were oaks, which were cut down to build houses. So trees were planted for shade, not for beauty. Many chose trees they knew, such as maples, elms and plane trees, from their homes in the Midwest and East.
Over the years exotics were added — Japanese maples, liquidambar, Chinese pistache and zelkova — as well as sycamores, black oaks, cottonwood and, yes, native oaks. What colors does fall bring?
The city still embraces shade, which has become a key way to reduce energy costs. The foundation, in partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, gives residents free trees to shade houses in summer and keep them cooler, then warmer in winter when the leaves fall, allowing in sunlight. About 10, trees a year are planted in Sacramento. Los Angeles also has a tree giveaway program and is figuring out how to shade more neighborhoods.
Seeking fall colors? visit sacramento for autumn trees
And the leaves from all those shade makers? Sacramento has a fleet of leaf-scooping machines called the Claw that sweeps up and composts about 54 tons of leaves each year. I visited Sacramento in search of shade leaves were green or barely starting to turn in late September and areas that were sure to display fall colors.
These walkable spots were easy to find by car or Uber but are by no means the only places to go in the City of Trees. Sidewalks here are smooth and wide for walking.
Plane trees, which turn yellow and brown in fall, line many streets. Set off on foot to nearby McKinley Parkwhich also has fall colors, to picnic or take a break. Capitol Park, downtown Sacramento : The state Capitol is always a popular tourist stop; the acre green space that surrounds it is equally impressive. The expansive grounds host an arboretum studded with monuments and memorials. The Civil War Memorial Grovefor example, dates to and features trees from battlefields.
Several types of trees bring on the colors: pinkish to scarlet hues from Japanese, sugar and red maples as well as yellows and golds from liquidambar and Chinese pistache. The park offers a pretty mix of colors and is one of the most tree-dense areas of the city. Other trees planted in this plus-acre park include fan palms, Italian cypress, sycamores and native oaks. Where : S. Land Park Drive.
Take the mile or so walk or drive to nearby Freeport Bakery at Freeport Blvd. The Sacramento Tree Foundation posts an online brochure go to sactree.
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It points you to gems such as a giant ginkgo on Forrest Street and Eastern dogwood, which turns from pink to bright red, on Blackwood Street. The old downtown area is the place to strike autumn gold.
The surrounding neighborhood is filled with neat streets lined with full canopies of maples as well as Chinese pistache and gums that turn red, yellow and gold. Walking around the lake or paddling in a kayak takes you to quiet coves and inlets where plane trees and maples provide color.
Where : From City Hall at W. Pine St. The park is at W. Turner Road.
She loves tips and stories about running, hiking and anything to do with the outdoors. She also writes The Wilda weekly newsletter featuring insider tips on the best of Southern California beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains. Las Vegas is betting on the gamblers and tourists returning. Will lost jobs come back? Las Vegas nearly ground to a halt during the pandemic. Southwest Airlines is pushing back plans to selling alcohol on flights after a recent increase in unruly passengers.
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A striking Japanese maple turns color in late fall at Capitol Park in Sacramento. Early Sacramento settlers started planting trees in the mids. Travel Things to Do. Mary Forgione. Follow Us twitter instagram facebook. More From the Los Angeles Times.