But geography doesn’t automatically determine vibrant colors – weather often plays a more important role. So where is the good weather this year?
Perfect leaf conditions depend on a good combination of temperature (not too hot and not too cold) and humidity (not too wet or too dry). The problem is that some areas Is Experienced these serious conditions, especially in the West and New England.
More than 75% of the West is in a state of drought. More than 80% of people in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are experiencing drought.
But witnessing drought conditions in other parts of England suggests other colors of decline.
University of Vermont Forest Environment and Forestry Professor Dr. “This year we’re seeing an unusually shaky fall in Vermont,” said William Keaton. “It’s a combination of factors, good tree growth last year, mild drought and warmer days and cooler nights than last month.”
Although drought can trigger more bright colors, it can be premature.
“Colors are coming two weeks earlier than usual this year and will probably go fast and furious,” Keaton said. “Largely, this is because drought causes stress for the trees – physical stress. So from this situation, while drought can add some color, stress is not a good thing and things can get messy. Climate change. ”
In addition to early onset, leaf color period is also affected.
“In the case of autumn leaves, the leaves may change color first due to drought, but they may die and fall off first,” said Caitlin Weber, a statistics analyst at Climate Central. “Long and severe droughts can cause physical damage to trees such as root damage, slow growth and make it difficult for trees to protect themselves from pests and diseases.”
Due to which the level of drought is also important.
Vermont, for example, occurs mostly in moderate droughts (level 1 out of 4), vs. Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, which occur in most severe droughts (level 2 out of 4). And Rhode Island is almost entirely subject to extreme drought (3 out of 4 levels).
“A mild to moderate drought can cause some autumn leaves to grow, so long as it doesn’t have a lot of ‘brown’ or leaf drop,” Keaton said. “Then, a year.” Drought could mean less strong leaves next year. “
So it’s not always an effect. Often, the effects of drought are delayed. Currently 76% of Vermont is in moderate drought conditions or worse. But at this time last year, 0% of the state was in a state of drought.
“Good tree growth last year allowed trees to store energy reserves and nutrients in the winter, which resulted in strong leaf growth this spring and summer,” Keaton said. “But it also works with other works … a year of severe drought may have the least amount of rock in the next phase.”
Extreme heat and climate change
Ideal conditions for trembling leaves include warm days and cold nights. It promotes the production of a chemical called anthocyanin, which adds red and purple to some species, such as maple.
“The difference in temperature between night and day accelerates the loss of chlorophyll from the leaves, leaving secondary photosynthetic pigments (carotenoids) that give us a yellow and orange color,” Keaton said.
However, like drought, severe heat can put a lot of stress on trees, which can lead to early browning or leaf loss. And moderate heat, or prolonged heat – when autumn feels like summer heat – can delay the change of color, because the trees are not signaling that autumn has arrived.
“It is also possible for plants to lose the leaf completely and lose their leaves quickly,” Weber said.
Western states such as Colorado and Mexico often encourage tourism as travelers look for the leaves of aspen and rug oak trees. Both states had the hottest August this year, along with Nevada and Utah. New Mexico Mexico’s record was the second summer (June to August).
“The causes of the fall are complex and aren’t really fully understood,” Keaton said. “Drought is one of the many factors, the other is the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures in the photoperiod and autumn. It all shows how attractive our forest environment is!”
Wildfires add another hurdle / dilemma
Wildfires will also complicate leaf picking in Colorado and California this year. Many states are still dealing with poor air quality and smog. It will block your ability to see the colors of the fog.