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Fall Foliage Forecast

We’re ending the month of September unseasonably warm, about 4 degrees above normal since the 1st of the month. This, impart to the rainfall this year and weather pattern through the first of October will play a role in when peak foliage occurs this October.

If you remember the Fall of 2015, it was rather warm. The Spring of 2015 brought above normal rainfall, making for optimal conditions for sugars to be produced in plants. The more rainfall we get during the spring season, there tends to be brighter, vivid colors in the fall. You can think of fall as the second spring season for plants! Conditions also favorable for bright, vivid colors are days with plenty of sun and cool nights heading into October.

October of 2014 and 2013 was actually a bit rainy. This reduced the number of days when peak foliage occurred. So what about this year?

I think Fall 2016 is going to be comparable to Fall 2015. Temperatures are going to be above normal through Mid-October. This will delay the peak foliage. We’ll see Sassafras, Sumac, and the Virginia Creeper peak into Mid-October, with Maple, Ash, Oaks and Hickories peaking towards the end of the month, bringing a nice color display through the 31st.

Days towards the end of the month will be optimal for peak foliage, from October 21st through the 31st. If we don’t see many rain days towards the end of the month, peak foliage could continue for the Ozarks until November 3rd-4th. However, the above normal rainfall we’ve had this year, was not during the growing months. This may impact the brilliance of the oranges, mahogany hues, and yellows that we see.

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