The leaf peeping season is under way in northern New England and heading in our direction.
With the Columbus Day weekend coming up, a lot of people will hit the road to enjoy one of the unique pleasures of living here. And we found that some people are curious about what’s going on with the leaves.
At Smolak Farms in North Andover, people are buzzing about foliage time. One shopper said, “It looks so beautiful and we just love the fall season. It makes me happy!” Another said, “I look at it as a new beginning, a different changing of the seasons.”
“The stage is set for a good season,” says Dr. George Ellmore, a plant biologist at Tufts University.
We went to see him after getting this question on our Curiosity Web site: Gretta from Beverly asks, “I’m curious why the trees started to turn color in mid-August. Isn’t this too early?”
Well Gretta, your eyes may be playing tricks. Dr. Ellmore says most trees are extremely healthy this year, with dark, rich, green leaves. So when individual branches turn color, they simply stand out more.
“It makes you think the tree is changing early, but it’s only occasional branches that are doing that. So an optical illusion,” according to Ellmore.
The Autumn color is worth millions to the New England economy, from hotels and restaurants to gas stations and local shops, so the vibrancy of the leaves and the length of the season is crucial.
The good news?
Dr. Ellmore says we could be in for a tremendous season because of the large amount of rainfall we had this summer.
“The leaves are going to stay on the trees for longer and they’re going to hold their color longer because they’ve got more water reserves to keep them on the crown,” says Ellmore.
That creates the potential for a brilliant fall.
“I expect to see the season be a long, lingering one,” predicts Ellmore.
The remaining ingredient for leaf change is the temperature. The recipe is warm days and cool nights.
Here are more resources with foliage information around New England:
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