NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – It’s Columbus Day weekend, but something is missing. Where are the vibrant leaves of autumn?

People hoping to do some leaf peeping this weekend may be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean the foliage season won’t still be brilliant.

The signs of fall are everywhere at Smolak Farms in North Andover. The pumpkin patch is overflowing, the apples are crisp and the cider donuts are delicious. But check out the trees.

Delayed foliage at Smolak Farms in North Attleboro (WBZ-TV)

“I mean, everything seems to be a little greener,” says one dad pulling his two kids in a wagon. Actually everything is a lot greener.

“We’ve seen a definite shift in terms of when full foliage comes,” says farmer Michael Smolak.

We should be seeing bright colors, but instead, the green is hanging on. “It used to be high foliage right now. Columbus Day was the height of our foliage season,” says Smolak.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Not this year, and the weather is the culprit. To get these kinds of colors we need cool nights and warm days, but the nights haven’t cooperated. That means we’re seeing just the beginning of color, as the warm, humid weather keeps the leaves from changing.

“The tree senses these things. Once the warmth is still there, they’re not so likely to kick into fall mode,” Smolak says.

To find peak foliage right now you have to travel to northern New England, but in a week or so that line moves to southern New Hampshire, and in two weeks we should have beautiful color in our area. That is, if the cool nights are here to stay.


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