Posted by: pyeager | October 26, 2009

Fall Foliage Update

People often ask me how the weather affects fall foliage, so I thought I’d share a few observations of what makes for the best fall displays.

Obvious Factors Influencing Foliage

We all know that some types of weather, such as snowfall when leaves are in color, major wind storms when leaves are in color, or even heavy rain when leaves are near peak, will damage fall displays.

It is worth noting, however, that foliage still has a chance to be exceptional if these events do not occur when leaves are near peak. For instance, snow that occurred in my area this fall (Autumn in Central Pennsylvania) occurred before peak colors developed–early enough that it doesn’t seem to have had a tremendous dampening of the colors. The early snow certainly did tremendous damage to the trees, but the colors of the leaves seem to have been not affected.

Stress-Free Trees

The key to brilliant color in the determined during the spring and summer months since certain conditions will cause stress in trees. Stressful weather includes drought and too much intense heat, so the best fall color occurs during years when there has been an abundance of spring and summer rain, without too many periods of intense heat or drought.

Perfect Fall Weather

We all have our opinions about what is perfect fall weather, and so do trees, at least in terms of maximizing fall color. The best weather includes generally dry weather, sunny and warm days, and cool nights; however, excessive fall warmth will dull colors, and hard freezes will result in early leaf loss, so it’s a fine line. Some rain in the fall, especially early on, can help to salvage a potentially poor fall season if the summer had been hot and dry.

What’s Fall Foliage Like in My Area?

Here are a couple of links to fall foliage sites:

–Paul Yeager


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: