By Sarah Wroblewski


BOSTON (CBS) – Every fall Mother Nature is known to put on an incredible show of colors across New England, and this year will be no different.

“We think it is going to be a pretty bright year,” Yankee Magazine foliage expert Jim Salge told WBZ-TV.

While the local weather in the weeks ahead can impact the color, it’s the season before that can determine how vibrant the colors will be.

“It goes all the way back to last winter and spring. We had a fairly wet spring and through the summer we had adequate moisture, good growing season… not many bugs, not much in the way of fungus and mold, the leaves are healthy and we think it’s going to be a good fall because of that,” Salge explained.

Already, the leaves are beginning to change with pops of orange and yellow in some parts of New England. With a long term forecast of above average temperatures expected through October, which could impact the timing of the foliage.

Jim Salge, Yankee Magazine foliage expert (WBZ-TV)

“Yea, already the colors are coming in up north. They’ve had some frosts… and because of that, the colors have really kick started. Further south where it stayed warmer, and it will stay warmer longer… we expect the temperatures to hold that foliage back a bit,” Salge told WBZ-TV.

There may also be some scarce spots in the landscape. It’s a mast year for our forests, meaning a lot of trees are producing a bumper crop of acorns and maple seeds which you may have noticed.

“If trees put their energy into producing seeds, they’re not producing as big or as many leaves. So the trees are healthy, but a little thin this year,” explained Salge.
At least gypsy moths are not an issue this year thanks to a fungus that developed in the spring that attack certain caterpillars. However, there is another kind of moth that could impact our foliage this season.

A view of Crawford Notch with peak foliage on Oct 12, 2016. (Photo credit: Eric Kaminsky)

“A lot of people have been seeing those cool, spiky caterpillars this year called tussock moths. They’re attacking the young oaks right now. They usually hit late enough in the year, that they don’t cause damage to trees, but some of the young oaks are losing leaves and that will impact foliage a bit,” said Salge.

That shouldn’t stop you from visiting your favorite leaf peeping spot. About every place in New England will have a three week window of spectacular color.

“The colors will be bold… so we’re expecting a normal year, and a normal year in New England is spectacular,” Salge said.

Yankee’s LIVE Foliage Map, which monitors peak color in all six New England states, is part of the annual Fall issue, available now at NewEngland.com.

Sarah Wroblewski

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