The longer we have warm temps, the longer we wait for fall foliage

Leaves are late to turn this year

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Warm New England temperatures are affecting fall foliage this year.

Many weather factors play into how intense the colors will be and how long the vivid leaves will be around. Mother nature is taking a backseat to warm temperatures, forcing the leaves to change colors later in the season. And here’s why.

Leaves have chloroplast. Chloroplast makes chlorophyll, which gives leaves a green appearance.  In return, leaves manufacture sugar, through a process called photosynthesis, which you may remember being taught in school.

A typical green leaf, makes sugar, for new tree growth for the following year.

“So, as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, that can concentrate some of those sugars in the leaves and the leaves actually stop manufacturing chlorophyll,” Rick Harper, an Urban Forestry proffesor at UMass said. “These other colors then become more apparent.”

Leaving us waiting for the peak fall colors.

So the longer the temperatures are warm, the longer you can expect to see muted colors.

Professor Harper said New England normally has the correct temperatures, as well as the right plant species for a colorful autumn. Now, we’re just waiting to see it.