Fall foliage delayed this year

It's the first week of October with Columbus Day around the corner. By now, the majority of the Adirondacks are experiencing peak fall foliage color. Not this year. There are many green trees that remain, even in the higher elevations. From what we can o

Posted: Oct. 24, 2017 3:42 PM
Updated: Oct. 24, 2017 3:42 PM

It's the first week of October with Columbus Day around the corner. By now, the majority of the Adirondacks are experiencing peak fall foliage color. Not this year. There are many green trees that remain, even in the higher elevations. From what we can observe, the fall colors are running at least a week to week and a half behind schedule. Why?

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In order to answer that question, we have to review how this process begins. Leaves change color not due to cold weather, but rather shorter amounts of sunshine. As we head into the fall season, the days get shorter and shorter. This is the trigger for leaf change. So, if this was entirely driven by the sunrise and sunset time, the leaves should change like clockwork each year - at the exact same time. That's not the case though, so there's something else going on.

Not only was September unusually warm, it was unusually sunny and dry. The second half of the month featured nearly wall to wall sunshine thanks to high pressure. The excess sunshine has tricked the trees into staying green longer this year. Once the weather begins to cloud up, likely starting next week, things will change.

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