Fall leaves predicted to be at their best
The weather has a definite
effect on how bright the coming fall foliage will be, and the right elements are
coming together to ensure a spectacular display of fall color in the Northeast,
according to the Associated Press. A moderate drought this summer in combination
with cooler temperatures and bright, sunny days should provide good color by the
middle of the month.
Mother Nature has done her part, so far.
Green leaves dominate the spring and summer because trees produce an abundance of chlorophyll (the pigment that allows plants to convert sunlight into energy) at this time.
When fall brings cooler weather, chlorophyll breaks down and allows other pigments--such as yellow xanthophylls and orange carotenes--to show through. When chlorophyll production ceases, the leaves of maple, sassafras, sumac, black gum and purple oak trees produce a pigment called anthocyanin.
While a severe drought is hard on trees and can cause them to drop leaves early, a moderate drought can actually boost anthocyanin levels. Cool weather also promotes color change, while a warm fall day can delay color change.