Unusual weather creating unusual fall conditions for local foliage

News

October is known for a few things – including Halloween and fall foliage.

But with this year’s roller coaster of seasons, leaf watching might not be the same.

Don Leopold – a professor at SUNY ESF – enjoys walking through Oakwood Cemetery on his way to work.

“The sugar maple, for example, here in Syracuse, would be completely green this time of year during a normal year,” he said. 

The sugar maple is the state tree of New York and it is one of the prettiest trees during the fall season but that fall color is very dependent on weather conditions.

This year, we saw an abundance of rain in spring and early summer, and the weather turned cool just shortly after mid-August.

“A lot of trees started to turn real early and then it got really warm so a lot of trees stopped the process and they are still green so they are going to be later,” Leopold said.

And just like the weather, the foliage is a bit different this year.

“So the fall colors, this year, because of the erratic climate that has been the case more recently, the fall color situation is just different, it’s not happening at an intense period like it typically would,” he said.

In addition, New York State has a plethora of tree species and they all react differently to the weather.

“That’s why it’s so unpredictable. If it was one or two species but it’s really dozens of tree species that contribute to the fall colors,” Leopold said.

While the landscape will be unique this year, places like Green Lakes State Park, Letchworth, and Clark Reservation will all still have some nice fall color by the end of October.

For more information on foliage and the changing leaves, we’ll have updates on our weather page on LocalSYR.com as the season goes on.
 

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