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Fall foliage: Where did it go?

Climate change related to fall foliage showing up later this year

Contributing factors for late fall foliage (Climate Central)

It’s that time of year when many travel north to see the leaves in all shades of reds, yellows and oranges. It’s called “leaf peeping,” and it’s a common fall activity.

But, this year, travelers are noticing that the leaves are changing later than in previous years.

Why is that?

The answer is our change in climate.

When fall arrives and the length of the day and temperatures drop, the chlorophyll in a leaf breaks down, losing its green color and allowing the fall colors to show.

With warmer fall temperatures, it can cause the leaves to remain green longer and delay the onset of the beautiful colors.

Temperature impacting fall foliage (Climate Central)

If a specific location has a dry summer, like the heat wave in the Northern Pacific this year, it can stress the trees and miss the fall colors altogether. It can also cause what’s called “foliage scorch,” turning the leaves brown altogether.

Nationally, locations that usually see the best fall foliage have seen warming fall temperatures ranging from 1.5 degrees to 3.5 degrees, offsetting the changing of colors.

Fall warming (Climate Central)

Although evergreen trees dominate much of the landscape in Florida, the foliage that does show itself usually arrives by mid-November.

Wondering which trees in Florida produce the best fall color? Here’s a list:

  • Red maple
  • Sugarberry
  • Persimmon
  • Sweetgum
  • Florida maple
  • Flowering dogwood
  • Sorrel tree
  • Sassafras
  • Cypress

About the Author:

Danielle forecasts the weather on the weekends and reports on climate, environment and other issues during the week