How Weather Affects The Fall Color Season

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Weather plays a big role in our fall color viewing pleasure.

Val Cervenka, of the Minnesota DNR, says this year we’re actually getting a late start to fall colors compared to the past few years.

“Because it’s been so wet, and sometimes wetness or dryness can slow things down,” she said.

That’s because the excessive rain puts stress on trees, and if you plan on heading out for some leaf appreciation, keep in mind that different trees turn different colors.

(credit: Wei Henning)

(credit: Wei Henning)

“Ash and birch and cottonwood and other poplars are yellow, and you’ll get the reds with maple and some of the oak trees,” Cervenka said.

The shorter days during fall are actually what triggers the trees to begin the transition. Sunlight is necessary for building sugars within the leaves.

“When we get warm, sunny days, you’re gonna get a buildup of sugars and they become trapped in the leaves,” Cervenka said. “When the veins in the leaves start to close down in the fall, so when the sugars are trapped, it creates this beautiful red and purple color.”

Once the leaves change, they don’t stick around all that long.

“It could be several days, a week or so, unless we have a really strong wind or rain that knocks all the leaves off,” Cervenka said.

The DNR also has a very helpful Fall Color Guide Map, which can be seen here.

More from Molly Rosenblatt

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