Multi-colored fall leaves. . .

We have planted coral bark Japanese maples (sango kaku) for several years, mostly with good results.
Our present one, which is five years old and about 10 feet high, produced a surprise this fall: The usual brilliant golden leaves, but also, on the top branches, beautiful orange-red leaves.
It was as if there were two trees growing from the same trunk.
The yellow leaves have fallen, but the orange-red leaves are still there as of late November.
Any idea what could cause this?
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On Mon, 22 Nov 2010 10:50:40 -0500, "Ray"

Fall foliage color is mostly dependant on mineral content within the tree and its leaves from the soil in which it is growing, becomes apparent when photosynthesis ceases during dormancy... your tree's roots may have entered a stratum of some different soil that is affecting the newer growth. This new coloration may lessen as the tree matures and roots spread or it may become more apparent. Only time will tell... or your Japanese tree may have become bi-racial... any Norway maples making nightly visits? LOL any
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What a nice colorful surprise. Hope it continues for you to enjoy. Be sure that there are no sucker branches coming out of the soil or tree base. If there are, clip them off. I was told by an arborist that they can take over the tree and change it completely. I believe this may involve the treee having been grafted to a different root. This also goes for the contorted varieties of trees. Nanzi
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Fall color is highly dependant on climatic factors - warm daytime temps, cool, crisp nighttime temps, the amount of moisture the tree received during the growing season and to some extent (but much less) on soil conditions and so it can be extremely variable. The pigmentation for 'Sango Kaku' to turn oranges and orange-red is present genetically and that fall coloring is very common for this cultivar, provided all other conditions are right. FWIW, anthocyanin - the pigment that results in orange or red leaf color - also impacts abscission or the tendency of deciduous plants to lose their leaves. IOW, they tend to hang on longer than those with just a yellow color.
btw, ALL named Japanese maples are grafted. Seed grown JM's are just varietals of the species Acer palmatum (cannot be assigned a cultivar name) and JM's are very unsuccessful just from struck cuttings.
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In article

In grapes, the color of the fruit (greenish-yellow to dark red) is produced in the leaves of the vine. As the vine begins to go dormant, the leaf stem forms an abscission with the cane, trapping the pigments in the leaves. As a result, the leaves of green grapes turn yellow, and those of red grapes, red.
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That is interesting. I think that tree having been grafted to a different root. Anyway enjoy the colorful surprise.
--
Aleena


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