Monday marked the first day of fall, but warm weather could delay peak foliage colors this year.
Temperatures reached the 90s in Connecticut Monday, and the warm weather is expected to stick around. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection projects peak leaf-peeping season to hit around October 5.
But because colder temperatures restrict water flow to leaves, which breaks down chlorophyll, the substance that keeps trees green, we may see a later pop of color.
Despite the delay, fall festivities like apple picking continue.
"We rolled out last weekend with macoun, it’s a local favorite. We have empire going this weekend and aside from macs, and gala and some of those varieties that people get in September,” explained Peter Rogers, co-president of Rogers Orchards in Southington.
Sunny days and cool nights are the optimal conditions for growing apples.
“I think it’s the trees sort of feel those lower temperatures at night, I think it’s a signal that fall is here,” Rogers said. “In late August we started getting temperatures that felt like fall, and that really finished up some of those varieties like macintosh, and macoun and honeycrisp.”
The warm weather doesn’t mean a bad year for leaf peeping – just a later one. The DEEP monitors conditions throughout the season, and changes its projections based on the weather.