As I often do, I climbed Baker Mountain on my lunch hour today and was surprised by the amount of leaves that already have come down. As you can see from the photo above, the trail was covered in places.
It struck me as a little early to see so many leaves on the ground. Did they die early because of the dry summer?
I did a little Googling and discovered—no surprise—that I am not the first to ask that question or to wonder how the summer drought might affect coloration of the foliage this fall.
It appears the leaves are turning color earlier than usual. WKTV, a Utica television station, reported a few weeks ago that the leaves were already changing in Old Forge. Also, in an article on the AccuWeather website, a writer says drought during the growing season can cause leaves to fall early.
Whether it will be a colorful or drab autumn will depend in large part on the weather leading up to the peak of the foliage season. However, a professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry thinks the signs are pointing toward lots of color.
“Right now, without knowing what’s going to happen in the middle of October when the fall colors start to peak regionally, it looks like it’s going to be a good year for fall colors,” Donald J. Leopold, a dendrologist at ESF, told Science Daily in late August.
Let’s hope he’s right.