This summer’s turbulent weather — from an early-summer drought upstate, to wet, humid conditions well into September — have produced uneven fall foliage patterns across the state, leaf watchers say.
“This year really stands out to me as interesting, because everything is so patchy,” said Taryn Bauerle, a plant science professor at Cornell University. “Some trees are green and some are not. It’s really kind of a wildcard. We’ve had some crazy weather and it’s making all kinds of repercussions in the ecology of animals and plants.”
New Yorkers heading to the Catskills and Hudson Valley this weekend can expect peak leaf-peeping conditions, but trees in the Big Apple are only about 20 percent developed, according to the state’s tourism agency, I Love NY, which compiles weekly foliage reports.
New York City typically peaks around the second or third week of November, according to Eric Scheffel, who has been compiling the foliage reports for more than two decades.
Statewide, most treetops are painted with swaths of green and pops of yellow, a color trees produce as they shed the chlorophyll that makes leaves green, Scheffel said.
Vibrant reds and purples — which come from a chemical called anthocyanin — are few and far between this year.
“You get those colors when you have drier conditions, and the trees tend to produce those when there is not a lot of water and not a lot of sunlight,” Bauerle said.
Maples are more prone to showing reds and purples than other tree species, but “have had trouble holding their foliage this year,” according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
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