Why does this year seem to be particularly good for fall colors? I have often wondered why one year would be different than another. Here is what Linda Radimechky, DNR area park naturalist says about it. Some of those magnificent colors we’re seeing this fall are there all summer; it’s just you can’t see them because of the green chlorophyll in the leaves. As our days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, trees cease green chlorophyll production, allowing the yellow chlorophyll to show.
Any sugar compounds trapped in the leaf react with each other in the presence of sunlight to form the red, orange and purple pigments called anthocyanins. The more sun, the more brilliant the colors. The weather so far this season is perfect for brilliant fall colors-sunny dry days and chilly, but not freezing nights. The slightest change-too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry- can slow the process or cause trees to lose leaves before they change color. For the latest information on when and where the fall colors are expected to be at their peak, check out the DNR’s fall color finder at http://www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors.