Fall Foliage Expected To Be Less Than Spectacular
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“There's never a bad fall foliage year. There's just some that are a little better than others,” said Walt Nelson, horticulturalist at Cornell Cooperative Extension.
This year isn't expected to be one of those years.
"It's a function of the drought."
Nelson says the peak for fall foliage usually happens around the first week of October.
"This year, that's going to be out the window."
A dry summer has leaves already starting to turn. Many are falling before turning.
“I started to see green leaves on the ground. It took trees that long to really respond to the drought, and that's what we're seeing."
A bone-dry July has left its mark. One not even a torrential downpour can erase.
"It's not going to re-green. It's set up and it's going to drop."
The summer of 2012 has been the third driest on record. Nelson says its effects will linger beyond this year.
“And we're going to think back, 'Remember what last July was like?' That's the question you're going to ask next June, next May... when trees aren't looking good."
At fall foliage vantage points like Mt. Hope Cemetery, it doesn't mean there won't be color. Just not as much as usual.
"And I think we're going to see a lot of that in the coming weeks where leaves will just be dropping green or going crisp without a lot of color."
Despite it all, Nelson doesn't expect any long-term troubles for otherwise healthy trees.
"Little blips like this on a long-lived plant, they'll come through in the long run."