October 18th is St Luke’s Day, and folklore has it that around this date there is what is called St Luke’s Little Summer, a short succession of mild golden autumn days given to us by the saint in question – and indeed in recent years there have been some gloriously warm mid – October days, a true blessing for the autumn walker.
If you are walking in deciduous woods in October you won’t fail to notice the change in oak, ash and beech trees, a prelude to the shedding of their leaves. Did you know that this is in fact a survival strategy? With the fall in temperatures, trees can’t photosynthesise to produce energy, so it makes sense to shed leaves which would otherwise consume energy.
There are two other practical reasons for the trees to shed leaves; it enables them to preserve their water content, as the total surface are of the tree is reduced, and the strengthening winds will meet less resistance as they blow through bare branches, rendering the trees less likely to be blown over.