Taking a look at what can affect the quality of our foliage this season


The hallmark of the fall season is the changing of the leaves from lush green to various vibrant colors. The question here is simple: Will these colors shine or fall flat?

Trees across KELOLAND are going through their annual routine of decreasing chlorophyll production as our days get shorter. With this lack of green pigment, the traditional colors of fall take center stage, with different pigments creating different colors. The brilliance of these colors, however, can be directly affected by what we see on the weather side of things.

We know it has been dry across KELOLAND as of late. Moderate to severe late summer drought has gripped several portions of the region. This lack of rainfall can do three things to our foliage: First, color intensity can be lowered. Second, the arrival of our fall foliage can be delayed. Third, excessive drought conditions can cause leaves to drop before they change color.

Our observed temperatures, however, can help with the vibrancy of our colors. Ideally, we want warm, sunny days and cool nights that don’t delve into freeze territory. The warmth of the day helps the trees produce the sugars that are necessary for making the pigment, while the cooler nights keep these sugars near the leaf.

With that said, if temperatures get too cold too soon, that can spell an early end for our foliage season. Considering the serious lack of moisture in place, we’ll need all the help we can get.

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