Greetings my leaf peeping friends! I’ve stated polling my friends in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and I just got a report from Bill out in Albany New York.
Fall foliage is like fireworksDepending on where you are standing in New England, you have different signs of fall. I believe the areas that got a little more rain will be a bit behind the dryer areas. Basically if an area got less rain then the trees will be more stressed and earlier color.
The result will be early turning by some trees and others will start later. This is not at all unusual and in fact that is the way it normally works. It’s not unlike a 4th of July fireworks finale. In a good year our foliage is like a great fireworks display. First a few bursts of color start and then more, until it builds to a crescendo of color and then it fades out.
The downside to this years drought
Here is the problem; if they start too early (brought on by stress) then it stretches out the arrival of peak color so you never get to that crescendo of color. Trees will just put on color and fade out, a little here and a little there. Also if there is enough drought, then the leaves may not stay up on the tree for long either. The worst case is way too much drought and they turn brown and drop.
This is happening with some trees now but I’m happy to say it’s not widespread.
The upside! Yes there is an upside…
The upside is that there will still be color all over the place it just may not be as concentrated as we hope for.
The foliage report for NH
I’ve talked to a few photographers and they tell me that so far it’s only a few trees here and there showing any color. One report comes from Scott of Scott Snyder Photography. “He says in his southern NH areas, he’s not seeing more than the odd leaf with color on southern NH trees”.
The foliage report for VTI’m getting about the same reports from VT. Photographer Linda Baird-White of Vermont Perspectives, says she got this shot a few days ago “but the color is very spotty, but it’s coming“. “Her usual rule of thumb for her area (Barre VT) is the end of the full third week in Sept, she starts doing some serious scouting for early vibrant signs”.
Jane Ogilvie of Green mountain photos, says in her neck of the woods (Middlebury VT), there are few if any swamp maples turning and just a little stressed color and some brown leaf drop.
Judy Lombardi of Golden Acres Photography says it’s a mixed bag with some turning, With some trees turning brown and dropping leaves. On Route 89 she saw definite swamp maple color starting.
John Burk of John Burk photography says he drove from the Berkshires of Massachusetts to Camden Maine. he says ” I drove along the coast to Camden, Maine and saw just a few roadside ornamental’s with some early color this weekend. The sugar maples on the common have traces of color and healthy looking leaves, unlike last year at this time.The red maple swamps I’ve passed in central New England seem to be behind last year, when a number had good color Labor Day, possibly to high water stress from all the storms? A few others have barren trees, that might have died after same.
Just got this in from John where he caught some swamp maple action near New Salem MA.
My take on this news
I would say that all things being equal, VT, NH and Maine (Based on these early reports) should have an outstanding year for fall foliage. I think for the most part they got just enough rain to concentrate the sugars (which should increase the brightness of the colors) But we’ll have to see it plays out in November.
I think that MA, CT, and RI are doing ok but I’m also hear that the Berkshires are as dry as eastern NY and the color may be more affected in western MA.. I’ll report back when I hear back from John Burk on his home area.
Report from NY
- Bill Clarke who runs the Northeast foliage Network is a small farmer out in Albany NY and he says” the ash and willows are already turning and there is a fair bit of leaf drop so while the color may show early, it may not stick around”.
- Also “he says some orchards have almost no apples this year due to the wacky weather this spring and drought this summer”.
- “He doesn’t think that the colors will wait for the cooler temps in late Sept or early Oct that his area of NY”. usually arrives at before the foliage turns.
I think the heavy drought areas are not going to have great color and if they do get color it may be more like pastels instead of the bright shades of red, yellow, and orange that we want to see… I hope I’m wrong… But overall I’m leaning towards a good season or in a few areas above average color. But you will have to search for those areas… 🙂
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
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I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.