Tip Sheets

New York leaf peepers can expect an average fall foliage

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

New York’s foliage season has begun with fall colors starting to appear in the North Country, Central New York, Mid-Hudson and Capital regions. The following Cornell University experts offer a foliage forecast for New York.

“I expect this year's fall foliage to be average compared to past years. The warmer weather and relatively dry season we've had are not ideal for optimal colors. However, the forecast looking forward appears to have sunny days and cool nights, which will help to maximize leaf sugar production and keep it locked in the leaf resulting in the potential for more vibrant colors.

"Areas with higher elevations, like in the Adirondacks and Catskills, tend to have cooler weather so you can expect trees in those areas to turn color first. The Finger Lakes region is usually only a few weeks behind, followed by New York City and Long Island."

Daniel Weitoish

Arborist at Cornell Botanic Gardens

“The pigments in leaves that produce vibrant fall colors are often present while the leaves are still green. Chlorophyll is responsible for this ubiquitous green color, but as the days grow shorter and cooler, the mask is shed to reveal autumn’s red, yellow, and purple.

“With our hot and dry summer, it was looking like an average year at best for fall foliage, but the September forecast is looking great for anthocyanin production, the pigment responsible for red and purple colors. If sunny days and cool nights continue, we should see gorgeous reds and purples in maples, cherries, tupelos, and red oaks.”

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