With last year being the wettest year on record in Pennsylvania, and this year staring out wet again, 2019 was set up to be the mother of all fall foliage displays.
With last year being the wettest year on record in Pennsylvania, and this year staring out wet again, 2019 was set up to be the mother of all fall foliage displays. Trees in most areas were in great condition going into late summer.
But then it quit raining — in a big way. A drought kicked in, with rainfall 25% to 75% below normal over the last 30 days for most of the state. The extremely dry conditions have been coupled with a series of near-record and record high temperatures from mid-September through the first week in October.
“Yet, we have had reasonably low temps at night — getting into the 40s,” said Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “All of these factors have produced greater than average amounts of early fall colors, which have been quite muted. This is an indicator of what is likely to follow.”
While drought at this time of year is normally good for fall colors, the abnormally dry conditions and high temperatures have caused poor leaf colors and early leaf drop in late September and early October, Abrams noted. And all the leaves that are changing now will not be around to contribute to peak colors in mid-October, he added.
Read more at Penn State
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