Fall Leaves: "Ideal Conditions" Seen for Foliage in U.S.
Summer drought boosted colorful leaf pigments, expert says.
Moderate drought can increase concentrations of anthocyanins, the natural pigments that produce the reds and purples in tree species including ash, black gum, sumac, and some maples, according to Donald J. Leopold, a dendrologist—or tree scientist—at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.
"From what we've seen so far, the trees that have the potential for producing lots of anthocyanins look as good as they've ever been this year," Leopold said.
Weather in the coming weeks, including temperatures and rainfall, will determine just how brilliant this year's leaves will be in the Northeast and across the country.
And how long they last may depend on storms, like 2011's Halloween surprise snowfall, which abruptly ended the fall foliage season in