The owners of our house had pointed out to us that the Ginkgo tree in the backyard will drop all its leaves in a single day, and to keep our eye out for the first sign of leaf-fall (and to have a video camera ready).
Last Friday morning Gigi called me down to the sunroom, because the leaves were starting to fall. There had been a cold snap the night before (below freezing) and this morning the bi-lobed leaves of the Ginkgo tree were all curled up and drooping. Within minutes the leaves had started to fall, and just a few minutes later it turned into what could only be called a Leaf Storm.
The sound heard while standing under the tree was like a hard, driving rainstorm. The leaves are shaped very much like the tail of a bird, and with their stems attached they are very aerodynamic. Most of the leaves come straight down, fast, with the stems pointing down and the triangular leaf acting like a rudder that makes them twirl like a helicopter. On occasion, however, a leaf will turn horizontal and glide, sometimes tracing out long graceful arcs far away from the tree.
Two hours later, and well before noon, the leaves had all completely dropped, carpeting the ground and the picnic table that sat beneath it in a green and yellow layer of leaves several inches thick. The little youtube video below really fails to capture the intensity of the event, but it will have to do for now.