Author Topic: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?  (Read 3299 times)

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Offline John

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How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« on: August 11, 2016, 10:29:01 AM »
Some areas of New England are in severe drought conditions right now. Fortunately were I am located in the Northeast Kingdom of VT we have been getting enough rain to avoid the drought.

Jeff, can you share your thoughts on how the drought may effect the 2016 foliage season in New England?

Offline Jeff Foliage

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2016, 03:43:41 PM »
Well John this is a long and multifaceted subject.  I had Jim Salge (Yankees foliage blogger and my replacement) call this week to get my take.
He's comparing it to 2012 since back then we didn't have much snow like this past winter. So in that it is similar to 2012. This year it's different in that Massachusetts has been hit twice as hard by the drought AND we had the winter moths early and in some areas the gypsy moth has done a lot of damage.

A mild drought will concentrate the sugars and create brilliant colors.  But it may also mean the tree is stressed and will color up fast and then just as quickly drop the leaves.
Every factor has a counterpart to consider. Happy trees with lots of water are slower to develop color but hold onto the leaves during rain and wind.
So what I think we will see in southern New England is (aside from areas where the leaves turn right now) is a quick color development and fast leaf drop. Mid NH/VT/ME up to their northern areas have at most a mild dought. So those trees will color up slowly but also hold onto them longer.
Does that help?

Offline outabout

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 07:14:35 PM »
I saw this on an accuweather page:

Those anticipating the turn to cool fall weather will have to wait longer than usual this year as a warm, dry start to the season is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Typical cool shots will hit the region at times in October and November, but prolonged chilly weather will wait until late in the fall for most areas.
"As far as Philadelphia and New York City, I would expect that you're not going to see many arctic shots or cold shots to spoil your plans here in the fall," AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
"The only days that really may be cool are those that are wet. If the season follows our predictions, we're not expecting too many of those coming up," he said.
The warm, dry conditions will lead to a promising harvest season for farmers and excellent weather for those attending fall festivals. Leaf peepers may get the short end of the stick, however.
"Fall foliage looks like it may be hurting just a bit because of the current dry conditions going on and then what we expect in September and October...," Pastelok said. "Those leaves, they may not be as vibrant and they may not stay on the trees very long."

Offline John

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 01:33:56 PM »
Well John this is a long and multifaceted subject.  I had Jim Salge (Yankees foliage blogger and my replacement) call this week to get my take.
He's comparing it to 2012 since back then we didn't have much snow like this past winter. So in that it is similar to 2012. This year it's different in that Massachusetts has been hit twice as hard by the drought AND we had the winter moths early and in some areas the gypsy moth has done a lot of damage.

A mild drought will concentrate the sugars and create brilliant colors.  But it may also mean the tree is stressed and will color up fast and then just as quickly drop the leaves.
Every factor has a counterpart to consider. Happy trees with lots of water are slower to develop color but hold onto the leaves during rain and wind.
So what I think we will see in southern New England is (aside from areas where the leaves turn right now) is a quick color development and fast leaf drop. Mid NH/VT/ME up to their northern areas have at most a mild dought. So those trees will color up slowly but also hold onto them longer.
Does that help?
Thanks for the reply, Jeff.

Hard to believe that we should be close to peak color here in the NEK in about 6 weeks!

Offline John

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 10:45:09 AM »
Latest weekly government/university update on Drought Conditions just in. Parts of southern NH and MA are in Extreme Drought Conditions.


Offline Jeff Foliage

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 03:32:05 PM »
I know for us in the extreme area we are in the 6-7 inch deficit zone. I'm not sure what the other zones are short by. But in 2012/13/14 we were at 3 inches or so and the colors could be quite bright. But the leaves will come down quite quickly when the trees are drought stressed. Some trees can't cope and just turn brown and drop while the one two trees away turns bright orange and yellow...
This is the mystery of the fall colors and trying to figure out where the colors will be is an never ending quest. I have some good ideas but a real clue??? :-)

As to 6 weeks until peak for you in the NEK??? I'm thinking maybe 28 Sept at the earliest and that will depend on the temps you get at night between now and then... If you are in the 30s at night on a constant basis then there is a very good chance of mid Sept but if the nightime temps are 50s to 60s and day time remains in the 70s-80s then it will be later... AND don't forget the sunshine we still want a lot of days with sunshine...

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Re: How will drought in parts on NE effect fall foloiage?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 03:32:05 PM »