"The abundant sunshine we have had much of this summer and fall has likely produced leaves high in sugars, and sugars are important for production of anthocyanins pigments which produce rich red colors.
"Working against this backdrop for brilliant fall colors is the recent, record-breaking heat and many warm nights. The summer has been quite dry in many areas, and this too would tend to inhibit good color and also stretch out or delay color. The key is temperature," David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology at Cornell University said.
According to Wolfe, the best autumn colors usually require:
- A warm, wet spring
- Moderate summer temperatures and weather that is not too dry
- Sunny fall days, combined with cool, but not freezing nights, and no severe dry spell
- No early frost, which will kill leaves, causing them to brown and drop early.
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