Now that we have settled into October, the leaves are getting more colorful by the day here in the Northeast. And while parts of New England have already reached the peak of their fall foliage, other folks along the I-95 corridor are still a week or two away. The shorter daylight and longer night hours help change the colors, but did you know the weather plays a pivotal role in fall foliage? For a more vibrant fall, you ideally need a wet growing season (April – June) followed by a not too hot or cool summer. Also, a pleasant autumn helps with plenty of sunny days and cool nights. On the contrary, long dry stretches in summer and fall or excessive wet and warm days can put stress on trees and dull the colors. In addition, an early frost or freeze can have adverse effects with leaves changing too fast from green to brown with little, if any, transition.
This past summer has been relatively dry, especially for much of New England. In fact, drought conditions exist from Connecticut to Maine. This will likely have an impact on the fall foliage in these areas and may result in a less colorfall peak. Take a look at the drought monitor as of September 29th.
Courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
As for the typical peak dates for the fall foliage, here is a detailed map if you would like to do some leaf peeping over the next month or two. Again, parts of New England have already reached peak, but the further south you go, it will take until late October and perhaps even early November. But, the drier than normal conditions may lend to less vibrant colors for this fall of 2020.