Peak Fall Foliage may be Early this Year.

I have never tried to time a trip to coincide with the peak fall foliage of a region. But if you are planning a vacation in advance, you can’t rely on my favorite method, which is looking out the window. Normally, you would do well to look at charts and maps online that indicate the average time of peak fall foliage for your destination. This year, however, the leaves might change colors a bit earlier than they normally would due to the hot, dry summer conditions.

I’ve mentioned the impact of the weather on corn, apples and pumpkins already this year. But a recent newspaper article brought the impact of the weather on the tree leaves to my attention. When plants are stressed because of heat and drought, they shut down chlorophyll production in their leaves earlier that they would otherwise. They then lose their green color and the red, orange and yellow colors that we enjoy throughout autumn are visible.

The last hot, dry summer was 2010. On August 30, 2010, the Boston Globe ran this article about how some leaves were starting to change colors in New England due to the summer weather conditions.

But, before you book that trip early, you should also know that the timing of the leaves depends on September weather as well. So it is still too early to say for sure when the brilliant leaf colors will peak. But if I were booking a vacation to enjoy the colors of the countryside, I wouldn’t count on fall foliage peaking late in the season in 2012.

One thought on “Peak Fall Foliage may be Early this Year.

  1. Jeff Foliage says:

    Your comment form is broken…
    But as too the fall foliage season being early… hmmm I don’t think so at least not unless we cool of in Mid September. We may be light on rain this year by 3-5 inches but this isn’t the tragedy that everyone makes it out to be. What we are at the mercy of is mother nature.
    If she doesn’t give us cooler temps and bright sunny days in Sept and Oct then we will be in trouble. Temps are due to be a little above average which we can live with (as I detail on my http://www.jeff-foliage website). But if we get rain showers off and on between now and Oct (no hurricanes and 2-3 week periods of rain) and the temps drop to our norms 60+/- daytime and 35-40+/- nighttime then we will have an incredible fall… As you say there is no way to really know until it arrives… But after 2011 we are due in the cyclic nature of nature for a great fall. But if I’m wrong? make those alternative plans for lobster, lighthouses and museums with walks along the shore…
    Jeff “Foliage” Folger

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